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Review of ESL K-12 Program 
Implementation in Alberta 

FINAL REPORT 



April 2006 




howardresearch 

& MANAGEMENT CONSULTING INC. 



ALBERTA EDUCATION CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION DATA 



Howard Research & Management Consulting Inc. 

A review of K-12 ESL education in Alberta : final report. 

ISBN 0-7785-51 58-X 

I. English language - Study and teaching - Alberta. 2. English language - 
Study and teaching - Alberta - Foreign speakers. I. Title. 

II. Alberta. Alberta Education. 

PEI 128.A2.H851 2006 372.6521 



For further information, contact 

Accountability and Reporting Division 
9 th Floor, Commerce Place 
10155 102 Street 
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L5 

Telephone (780) 422-8671 

Toll free in Alberta by dialing 310-0000 

FAX: (780)422-8345 

Email: SIG@Edc.Gov.ab.ca 



This document is intended primarily for: 

System and School Administrators 

Alberta Education Executive Team and Managers 



And may be of interest to: 

Teachers 

Parents 

Education Stakeholders 
Community Members 

Copyright © 2006, the Crown in Right of Alberta, as represented by the Minister of Education. 
Permission is given by the copyright owner to reproduce this document for educational 
purposes and on a non-profit basis. 



K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



TABLE OF CONTENTS I 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 1 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2 

1 . Background 2 

2. Purpose and Significance of the Study 2 

3. Method 2 

Limitations 3 

4. Key Findings 4 

K-12 ESL Student Population 4 

Assessment of English Language Proficiency 4 

Leadership 4 

Instructional Models 4 

Pre-service and In-service Requirements 5 

Reasons for ESL Students Leaving School Early 5 

5. Predictors of ESL Student Achievement 5 

Individual Level Predictors of Success 5 

School Level Predictors of Improved Achievement 8 

6. Recommendations 11 

_6.1 Recommendations of Study Participants 11 

6.2 Consultant Recommendations 11 

INTRODUCTION 16 

Rationale FOR THE STUDY 16 

Methodological Approach 18 

Literature Review 18 

Case Studies 18 

Stakeholder/Expert Interviews 19 

Province-wide School Survey 20 

Analysis 23 

Limitations 24 

Presentation of Results 24 

A. ESL PROCESSES AND PRACTICES 26 

A1 . Description of ESL Students in Alberta Schools 26 

Proportion of ESL Students in Respondent Schools 26 

ESL Student Population by Funding Code 28 

A2. Assessment of English Language Proficiency 29 

Literature: Assessment of English Language Proficiency 29 

Stakeholders/Experts: Assessment of English Language Proficiency 29 

Case Studies: Assessment of English Language Proficiency 30 

School Survey: Assessment of English Language Proficiency 32 

Summary 33 

A3. Information Tracking 34 

Literature: Information Tracking 34 



K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Stakeholders/Experts: Information Tracking 34 

Case Studies: Information Tracking 35 

School Survey: Information Tracking 35 

Summary 36 

A4. Leadership Processes 37 

Literature: Leadership Processes 37 

Stakeholders/Experts: Leadership Processes 37 

Case Studies: Leadership Processes 38 

School Survey: Leadership Processes 38 

Summary 40 

A5. Instructional Processes/Models 41 

Literature: Instructional Processes/Models 41 

Stakeholders/Experts: Instructional Processes/Models 42 

Case Studies: Instructional Processes/Models 43 

Survey Data: Instructional Processes/Models 46 

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of all schools reported frequently using informal peer mentoring 

support-most prevalent in grades 7 to 9 (66% of schools) 46 

Summary 47 

A6. Pre-service and In-service Requirements 48 

Literature: Pre-service and In-Service Requirements 48 

Stakeholders/Experts: Pre-service and In-Service Requirements 48 

Case Studies: Pre-service and In-Service Requirements 48 

Survey Data: Pre-service and In-service Requirements 48 

Summary 52 

A7. Reasons for Early Leaving 52 

Literature: Reasons for Early Leaving 52 

Stakeholders/Experts: Reasons for Early Leaving 52 

Case Studies: Reasons for Early Leaving 53 

Summary 53 

B. PREDICTORS OF ESL STUDENT OUTCOMES 54 

B1. Literature: Predictors of ESL Student Success 54 

Years of Previous Schooling in First Language (LI) 54 

Proficiency in First Language (LI) 54 

English Proficiency at Entry 55 

Hours of Instruction 55 

Past Academic Achievement 55 

Parent Involvement 55 

Resources and Funding 55 

ESL Student Attitude and Motivation 55 

Length of Residence 56 

Socioeconomic Status 56 

Training and Experience of ESL Teachers 56 

B2. Stakeholders/Experts: Predictors of ESL Student Success 56 

Years of Previous Schooling in First Language (LI) 56 

Socioeconomic Status 56 

Cultural Competence of Teachers 57 

ESL Resource Materials 57 

Time to Complete High School 57 

Mentoring and Extracurricular Support 57 

Funding 58 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



B3. Case Studies: Predictors of ESL Student Success 59 

Best Practices 59 

Funding 61 

Achievement Testing 62 

B4. Predictors of ESL Student Success 62 

B4.1 Summary of Individual-Level Predictors of Remaining in the Alberta Education 

System 66 

B4.2 Summary of Individual-Level Predictors of Moving Forward with Age Peers 67 

B4.3 Summary of Individual Level Predictors of Completion of PAT/Diploma Exams.... 68 
B4.4 Summary of Individual-Level Predictors of Achievement on PAT/Diploma Exams 70 
B4.5 Summary of School-Level Predictors of Improved Achievement of PAT Exams ... 72 

C. STUDY PARTICPANTS RECOMMENDATIONS 78 



Assessment and Diagnostics 79 

Diagnostic Assessment 84 

Cross-cultural Sensitivity 85 

Increase in Refugees 85 

Learners with Limited Literacy and Formal Schooling 86 

CONSULTANT RECOMMENDATIONS 87 

APPENDIX A 92 

ESL Student Type 93 

TABLE OF CONTENTS I 

LITERATURE REVIEW 1 

Purpose 1 

Search Strategy 1 

Predictors of ESL Achievement 1 

Proficiency in First Language 2 

Proficiency in Second Language 2 

Amount of ESL Instruction 2 

Past Performance 3 

Parental Involvement 3 

Resources/Funding 3 

Individual Differences 3 

Age at Time of Arrival / Length of Residence 3 

Socioeconomic Status 4 

Previous Schooling 4 

Teacher Credentials 4 

Summary 4 

Program Delivery Models 5 

Newcomer Programs 5 

Transition Programs 6 

Integrated Programs/ Mainstreaming 7 

Summary 8 

Teaching Methods 8 

Integrated Language and Content Based Teaching 8 

Corrective Feedback 9 

Interaction / Cooperative Learning 9 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Balanced Literacy 9 

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) 10 

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency 10 

Comprehensible Input 10 

Scaffolding 1 1 

Mentors 1 1 

Language Experience Approach 11 

First Language Support 12 

Phonemic Awareness 12 

Writing Workshop 13 

Modification 13 

Comprehension Strategies 13 

Realia (Real Life) 13 

Total Physical Response (TPR) 14 

Explicit Instruction 14 

Promoting Diversity 14 

Other Specific Supports 14 

Using Multiple Methods 14 

Summary 15 

Leadership 15 

Family and Community Involvement 15 

Opportunities for First Language Development 15 

Support 16 

Collaboration 16 

Reception 16 

Diversity Sensitivity 16 

Professional Development 17 

Summary 17 

Diagnosis and Assessment 17 

Importance of Assessment 17 

Purpose of Assessment 18 

Training in Assessment 18 

Multiple and Authentic Assessments 18 

Alternative Assessments 18 

Sensitive Assessment Measures 19 

Summary 19 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 20 

ADDITIONAL SOURCES 30 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 



Howard Research wishes to thank the many people who participated in this study 
including school principals, teachers, senior administrators, experts and stakeholders 
representing a variety of institutions and organizations, and a number of parents. At the 
provincial level, a project Steering Committee provided direction and guidance 
throughout the study. Their input on component parts of the study and feedback on 
various draft reports contributed significantly to this Final Synthesis Report. Committee 
members included: 

Barbara Leung (Project Manager) 

Director, Community Programs 
Alberta Advanced Education 
John Burger 

Learning System Quality Manager 
Alberta Education 
Jennifer Jackson 

Program Manager, Primary Programs (K-3) and ESL Curriculum 
Alberta Education 
Michele Samuel 

Director, Achievement Testing 
Alberta Education 
Karen deMilliano 

ESL Consultant 
Learning Support Services 
Edmonton Catholic School District 
Sharon Reib 

System Principal 

English as a Second Language 

Calgary Board of Education 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 



1. BACKGROUND 

The current 1 ESL (English as a Second Language) student population in Alberta is 
estimated at 37,300. Based on Citizenship and Immigration Canada data, there are 
approximately 1,500 new arrivals to Alberta between the ages of 0 to18 each month 2 . 
The number of ESL students has been increasing by an average of 14% per year. New 
arrivals settle predominantly in Calgary (58% new arrivals) and in Edmonton (29% new 
arrivals), with the remainder scattered throughout the province. Funding for Alberta 
Education has established three codes, 301 , 302 and 303. According to the 2005-2006 
Funding Manual for School Authorities the following definitions are used: 

301 - Foreign-born funded ESL students 
303 - Canadian-born funded ESL students 

302 - Non-funded ESL students 3 

2. PURPOSE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 

It is important to understand how best to support the academic achievement of ESL 
students. In October 2004 Howard Research & Management Consulting Inc. was 
contracted by Alberta Learning 4 to study the factors that influence and predict academic 
success of ESL students, and to assist the Ministry with decisions related to curriculum 
development, resource allocation, and support provision. Data collection was completed 
in September 2005. 

The comprehensive nature of this study is unique in that it presents the state of affairs of 
K-12 ESL education in Alberta. Best practice information is drawn from principals and 
teachers at various grade levels and geographic locations across the province. Views of 
experts and other stakeholders and research evidence have been considered in light of 
longitudinal data on ESL student achievement. Finally, a synthesis of findings has 
culminated in identification of factors and predictors of academic achievement of ESL 
students. A set of recommendations is offered as a starting point for the development of 
an action plan for K-12 ESL in Alberta. 



3. METHOD 

Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used to conduct this study, 
including a comprehensive literature review. Eight case studies examined current 
practices related to funding, assessment, program delivery, completion of PATs 
(Provincial Achievement Tests) and DEs (Diploma Exams), influencers on social 
adjustment of ESL students, facilitators and barriers to implementing best practices, 



Based on September 2005 count. 

2 This estimate is based on 2003 IMM1000 data. An estimated 14% increase was applied to this rate. This includes 
primary migration patterns only. 

3 International students on study permit were not included in any analyses. 

4 Alberta Learning was split into Alberta Education and Alberta Advanced Education during this study. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



early leaving, leadership, and recommendations for priority action. Semi-structured 
interviews were conducted with 47 stakeholder/experts, and a province-wide survey of 
principals and teachers was used to gather descriptive information on current practices. 

The purpose of the province-wide school survey was to gather both descriptive 
information regarding the current state of affairs in schools across the province with 
respect to K-12 ESL student programming. In addition, the school survey was used in 
combination with data obtained from Alberta Education to analyze the relationships 
between school-level predictors and student achievement of success. 

A staged random selection approach was used to select schools for participation in the 
K-12 ESL school survey. A total of 1,072 schools representing the four grade cohorts 
were asked to complete the teacher and principal surveys. Response rates ranged from 
53% to 57% across the four cohorts. School-based data were then combined with data 
from Alberta Education to identify relationships between school-level predictors and ESL 
student achievement on Provincial Achievement Tests/Diploma Exams. 

For descriptive purposes, analyses of school survey data consisted of cross-tabulations. 
For school-level predictive analyses, data collected at the school level were directly 
merged with data from Alberta Education and regression analyses were conducted on 
the combined data. For individual-level analyses, data provided by Alberta Education 
were also analyzed using a regression approach. 

Limitations 

There are several limitations with a study of this type. 



• First, all relationships that are identified are co-relational in nature and not 
causal. It is important to emphasize that though some causal relationships 
are more plausible than others, it is important that all relationships be viewed 
within the context of the qualitative data collected as well as the literature. 

• Second, the sample sizes associated with some outcome measures were 
less than ideal. As a result of the lower retention rates of ESL students in the 
school system and lower rates of completion on Provincial Achievement 
Tests/Diploma Exams (PAT/DEs), the effects associated with achievement 
levels should be interpreted with caution, particularly at the senior high level. 

• Third, variability in the number of ESL students across schools resulted in 
inadequate sample sizes within schools to estimate regression parameters 
using hierarchical linear modeling. As a result, school-level data were merged 
to the individual outcome data (Information Systems data) using the school 
code as a merge variable. It should be noted that this approach tends to 
overestimate the predictive effects of the school context variables. Given 
these limitations it is important to examine the predictive results, particularly 
those involving school based predictors, in terms of trends across cohort 
groups or across similar predictor themes. It is also important to consider the 
size of a particular predictive effect in addition to statistical significance. 

• The funding models have changed over the last years, from three year caps, 
to four year caps and more recently to a five year cap. It is not possible to 
account for these changes in the longitudinal predictive analyses that were 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



conducted. It is possible that these changes may have confounded some of 
the results obtained. 

• There may be variability in how jurisdictions are interpreting the 302 funding 
code. It is uncertain if this is being used to identify international students, 
previously funded ESL students who are no longer funded or other being 
used in other circumstances. 



4. KEY FINDINGS 

K-12 ESL Student Population 

On average, respondent schools reported that 17% of their school population was ESL-- 
34% with 1 to 5 ESL students, 39% with 6 to 25 ESL students, and 26% with more than 
25 ESL students 5 . The proportion of Canadian-born ESL students steadily decreases 
with grade level. Only in the K-3 category are more Canadian-born ESL students 
reported than foreign-born. Overall, 5% of ESL students are refugees. 

Assessment of English Language Proficiency 

Schools reported using over 60 different assessment instruments, the most common 
being the Developmental Reading Assessment test (K-6), the Woodcock Munoz (7-9), 
and the Secondary Level English Proficiency test (10-12). Stakeholders/experts 
expressed general dissatisfaction with existing tools. They emphasized the need for 
tools normed on Alberta students, and for consistent intake assessment to facilitate 
common placement practices. Experts emphasized the significant influence that 
proficiency in first language has on the ESL student’s ability to learn English. Across all 
grade cohorts, 43% of schools reported collecting information about ESL students’ first 
languages. 

Leadership 

Besides respect for the first language and heritage culture of ESL students, research 
indicates the importance of ensuring an environment for first language support. Experts 
and practitioners alike expressed that instructional leadership (knowledge of second 
language acquisition and instruction) and development of strategies that support 
teachers in their efforts to improve instructional capacity demonstrate good leadership 
practice. 

Instructional Models 

Research supports transitional programs (sheltered, pull-out, adjunct, inclusive) 
sustained for a period of five or more years. Research also indicates that full integration 
of ESL students into mainstream classes, if done too early, can be detrimental to 
achievement of ESL students (Thomas & Collier, 2002). Further, pull-out programs 
(several weeks to several months duration) are most beneficial to newcomer students 



5 It should be noted that only those schools with at least one ESL student were asked to participate in the survey. 
Seventeen percent (1 7%) is reflective of the participating sample and not intended to represent the number of ESL 
students in Alberta as a whole. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



who have little or no English, for ESL students who are older than their grade level 
peers, or who are at risk of dropping out of school. 

Case study data indicate that integration of ESL students into mainstream classes with 
pull-out support is the most common model of instruction in current use. Sheltered 
classrooms are the norm in large schools with large numbers of ESL students as well as 
in the Kanadier program 6 in a smaller elementary school in rural Alberta. Survey results 
indicate that sixty-four percent (64%) of schools reported using in-class models of 
instruction. Pull-out classes with school-based teachers (20%) was the second most 
commonly-reported model of instruction for ESL students. Experts’ views differed on the 
merits of various models of instruction. Fully integrated and pull-out models were both 
recognized as valuable and important, but perspectives on the timing and duration of 
pull-out varied. 

Pre-service and In-service Requirements 

On average, 63% of schools reported that staff designated to instruct ESL students have 
some ESL training (possibly as little as one professional development session). Twenty- 
seven (27%) of ESL designated teachers have no ESL training. Only 14% of schools 
reported that ESL designated teachers had an ESL diploma, certificate or degree in 
ESL. 

Reasons for ESL Students Leaving School Early 

ESL students leave early primarily because of lack of time to complete high school, 
frustration, low self-esteem, and family responsibilities. 



5. PREDICTORS OF ESL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT 

An overall description of the ESL student types and comparisons to non-ESL students 
are provided in Appendix A to establish how ESL students in Alberta fair in comparison 
to the non-ESL student population. In general, these tables indicate that non-ESL 
students tend to maintain enrolment in the Alberta Education system, are more likely to 
be moved forward with their age peers, are more likely to complete PAT/DEs, and 
achieve at higher levels than ESL students at most grade levels. 

In the following sections, results focus on predictive relationships among the ESL 
student population. It is important to note that relative to non-ESL students, ESL 
students are, in general, at a disadvantage when it comes to success outcomes 
regardless of the individual and school characteristics described below. 

Individual Level Predictors of Success 

Overall the predictive results that focus on individual level variables (rather than school 
level contextual variables) indicate several key findings when viewed across the four 
success outcomes of: a) remaining within the Alberta Education system, b) moving 
forward in the system with age peers, c) PAT/DE completion rates, and d) PAT/DE 
achievement levels. The key findings are summarized in Table ESI below. 



6 A fully segregated program for Mennonite students which focuses on math and English and offers bible study as well. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table ESI . Synthesis of Individual Level Predictors among ESL Students 



OUTCOMES -> 

PREDICTORS 


Remaining 
in Alberta 
System 


Moving 
Forward 
with Age 
Peers 


PAT/DE 

Completions 


PAT/DE 

Achievement 


Canadian born (in comparison to foreign 
born) 


4 ( 12)* 


4(9, 12) 


4 (9, 12) 


4(3, 6, 9, 12) 


More years as 301 student 


t (3, 9, 12) 


t (12) 






More years as 302 student 


4 (9, 12) 


4 (9, 12) 


4(9) 


4(9) 


More years as 303 student 


4 (9, 12) 




4(9) 


4 (3, 6, 9) 


Number of years former ESL funded 
(301 or 302) student has been in system 
as non funded 


4 (6, 9, 12) 


4(12) 


t (9, 12) 


t (6, 9, 12) 


Delay between entering the system and 
being identified as ESL 


4(12) 




4 (9, 12) 


4(9) 


Later age at entry into Alberta system 


T (12) 


t (12) 


4(12) 


t (9M) 4 (12E) 


Later grade at entry in Alberta system 


t (9, 12) 


t (9, 12) 


4 (3, 12) 


t (9M) 4 (12E) 


Females (in comparison to males 








t (3, 6, 9E) 


Probability of limited first language 
proficiency 




4(9) 


4(9) 


4(3) t (12E) 


Probability of having special needs 




4 (9, 12) 


4 (3, 12) 


4 (6, 12) 


Probability of requiring trauma 
counselling 






4(12) 




Probability of lower English proficiency 
level 








4 (3, 6) 


Probability of refugee status 








4 (9, 12) 



Overall trends are described (grades where effects are stronger are identified). M=Math, E=English. 

‘The arrows indicate the direction of the effect and are interpreted from predictor to outcome. For example for the first cell 
entry, the effect is read: In comparison to foreign-born, Canadian born students are less likely (4) to remain in the Alberta 
Education system in the grade 12 cohort. 

Predictor: ESL Student Type 

Key Findings In comparison to foreign-born ESL students, Canadian-born ESL 
students are at a greater disadvantage when it comes to remaining 
within the Alberta Education system, completing PATs, and 
achievement on PATs. The differences between foreign- and 
Canadian-born students are greatest at the junior and senior high 
levels. In addition, the longer students are coded as Canadian-born 
ESL students (code 303) the greater the disadvantage grows. Similarly, 
the longer students are identified as non-funded ESL students (code 
302), the more likely they are to be disadvantaged when it comes to 
remaining within the Alberta Education system, moving forward in the 
system with age peers, completing PATs, and achieving on PATs. This 
is particularly true at the junior high level. In contrast, the longer 
students are coded as foreign-born ESL students (code 301) the more 
likely they are to remain within the Alberta Education system and move 
forward in the system with their peers, particularly in the later grades. 

Possible Explanation/lmplicatioir . While further research is required, 
these findings suggest that Canadian-born ESL students may be 
experiencing more chronic language deficiencies than foreign-born 
ESL students. While foreign-born students remain at a disadvantage in 
comparison to non-ESL students, their language deficiencies may be 
more acute upon entry into the system, but become less profound (in 
comparison to Canadian-born ESL students) as they progress through 
the system. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Predictor: Termination of Funded Status 

Key Findings The longer it has been since ESL students have had their funding 
terminated the less likely they are to remain within the Alberta 
Education system and move forward in the system with their age peers. 
However, there is also a positive relation between the length of time 
ESL students have had their funding terminated and the higher their 
level of PAT/DE achievement. 

Possible Explanation/lmplication : ESL students whose English 
proficiency is at a sufficiently high level before their funding is 
terminated have a greater likelihood of moving successfully through 
school with their age peers and achieving well on PAT/DEs. However, 
when the English proficiency level of an ESL student is not at an 
adequate level before funding is terminated, the student is more likely 
to be retained or drop out. 

Predictor: Delay in ESL Student Identification 

Key Findings The longer the delay in identification of ESL status the less likely 

students will remain within the Alberta Education system, the less likely 
students will complete PATs and the lower the students’ achievement 
levels. These effects are found largely at the junior and senior high 
levels. 

Possible Explanation/lmplicatiorr . These results indicate that early 
identification is important for the long-term retention of ESL students. 

Predictor: Age at Entry / Grade at Entry 

Key Findings Students entering the system at an older age and/or are admitted to a 
more advanced grade are more likely to remain in the Alberta 
Education system and are more likely to move forward in the system 
with their age peers but less likely to complete their PAT/DEs than 
those entering at a younger age. When it comes to PAT/DE 
achievement levels, those entering at an older age and/or admitted to a 
more advanced grade level achieve higher levels in math, but lower 
levels in English than those entering at an earlier age and/or grade 
level. 

Possible Exolanation/lmplication : Results suggest that older age 
students or students admitted in a more advanced grade are more 
likely to be placed with their age peers though they are less likely to 
have the English proficiency to complete PAT/DEs. Older students are 
likely entering the system with more advanced mathematics skills as a 
result of mathematics instruction in their first language. 

Predictor: Other ESL Student Characteristics 

Key Findings Generally speaking, ESL students with a higher probability of having 
limited first language proficiency, special needs, lower English 
proficiency levels, or refugee status experience more deficits across 
one or more achievement outcomes (i.e., remaining in the school 
system, moving forward their age peers, completing PATs/DEs, 
achieving on PATs/DEs) and/or across one or more grade cohorts. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Possible Explanation/lmplication : The results suggest that those 
students with limited first language proficiency, special needs, lower 
English proficiency levels, or having refugee status may require 
additional ESL instructional supports. 

School Level Predictors of Improved Achievement 

The predictive results that focus on variables within the school environment (e.g., 
instructional methods, school size) focused only on improved achievement over 
successive PAT examinations. Because baseline information does not exist for early 
elementary grades, contextual relationships could not be assessed at those grade 
levels. Also, due to a small sample size for the grade 12 cohort (fewer than 100), it was 
decided the results were too unstable to warrant discussion. The key findings are 
summarized in the Table ES2 below. 



Table ES2. Synthesis of School Level Predictors 



PREDICTORS 


Improved Achievement 


Larger school size 


t ( 6, 9)* 


Higher ESL staff qualifications, training and/or specialization 


T ( 6, 9) 


Supports 




Availability of interpreters/translators 


T ( 6, 9) 


Additional teaching and support staff 


T ( 6, 9) 


ESL resource materials (including first language) 


T ( 6, 9) 


Availability of Reception Centre 


t (6) 


ESL consultants and other professionals 


t (6) 


Tutor support 


t (9) 


ESL teams and team functioning 


T ( 6, 9) 


Class Organization (Instructional Model) 




Half-day self-contained 


+ (6) 


In-class ESL support 


t (9) 


Pull-out 


t (9 -E) 4 (9 -M) 


Student Grouping 




Group students by age 


T ( 6, 9) 


Group students by English language proficiency 


T(6) 


Group students by proficiency in their first language 


4 (6) 


ESL Timetabling 




Unstructured timetabling 


4- (9 -E) t (9 -M) 


Semi-structured timetabling 


t (9) 


Structured timetabling 


t (6) 4 (9) 


Instructional Methods 




Mentoring approaches 


T (6) 


Integrated language and content instruction 


t(9) 


Modification approaches 


t (9) 


Balanced Literacy 


4- (6) t (9) 


Realia' (Real Life) 


4(6) 


Language Experience 


4 (6, 9) 


Phonemic Awareness 


4 (6, 9) 


Diagnostic Assessment Depth and Quality 


T ( 6, 9) 


School Communication Support of ESL Students 


f 9) 



Overall trends are described (grades where effects are stronger are identified). M=Math, E=English. 

‘The arrows indicate the direction of the effect and are interpreted from predictor to outcome. For example for the first cell 
entry, the effect is read: In comparison to smaller schools, larger schools have students that show a greater (t) 
improvement in achievement than in grades 6 and 9. 



7 Descriptions of Realia, Balanced Literacy and other approaches are outlined in the Calgary Board of Education 
Benchmarks document. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Predictor: School Size 

Key Findings In comparison to those ESL students in schools with smaller student 

populations, ESL students in schools with larger student populations, at 
the elementary and junior high levels, demonstrate greater 
improvements in achievement. 

Predictor: Staff Qualifications, Training and/or Specialization 

Key Findings Results indicate that ESL teachers with more training, credentials and 
specialization are more effective in supporting ESL student 
achievement. 

Predictor: ESL Supports 

Key Findings The availability of interpreters/translators, additional teaching and 

support staff, and ESL resource materials, benefit ESL students at the 
later elementary and junior high levels. ESL students in later 
elementary grades also benefit from the availability of a Reception 
Centre, ESL consultants, and other professionals. Junior high ESL 
students benefit from the availability of tutor supports. 

Predictor: Class Organization (Instructional Model) 

Key Findings A half-day self-contained (sheltered) class model may be the least 
appropriate for ESL students in later elementary grades. Students in 
schools using this model show deterioration in math achievement. For 
junior high students a pull-out, school-based model was related to 
improvement in English achievement but deterioration in math 
achievement. In-class support for ESL students in junior high, on the 
other hand, was not related to improvement in English achievement, 
but was positively related to improvement in math achievement. 

Predictor: Student Grouping 

Key Findings Schools that group ESL students by age have students who show 
improved achievement levels in later elementary grades and junior 
high. At the later elementary grade level, grouping students by English 
language proficiency also appears to have beneficial effects on 
achievement. In addition, grouping students by proficiency in first 
language appears to be related to deterioration in achievement levels 
at the later elementary grade level. 

Predictor: Timetabling 

Key Findings ESL students in later elementary grades may benefit most from a 
structured timetabling approach since a positive relation with 
achievement in math is indicated. At the junior high level, an 
unstructured timetabling approach appears to be related to 
improvements in math achievement but deterioration in English. In 
junior high, a semi-structured approach appears to be related to 
improvement in English achievement, while a structured timetabling 
approach appears to be related to deterioration in math achievement. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Predictor: Instructional Methods 

Key Findings ESL students in later grades in elementary schools that use mentoring 
instructional approaches show improved achievement in math and/or 
English — as opposed to schools where Balanced Literacy, Language 
Experience, Phonemic Awareness, and/or Realia approaches are 
used 8 . At the junior high level, schools that use Balanced Literacy, 
Integrated Language, Content Instruction, and modification approaches 
(as opposed to Language Experience and Phonemic Awareness 
approaches) have ESL students who show improved achievement 
levels in math and/or English. 

Predictor: Diagnostic and Assessment Characteristics 

Key Findings Overall, the quality and depth of diagnostics and assessment applied to 
ESL students is predictive of improved achievement outcomes in both 
English and math across the different grade cohorts. In addition, the 
number of data elements collected to understand ESL students’ current 
and historical demographic profile was predictive of improved academic 
achievement level in English in junior high. 

Predictor: School Communication Support of ESL Parents 

Key Findings The ability of schools to provide information to parents of ESL students 
using first language or simple English is predictive of improved English 
achievement of ESL students at the junior high level. 

Implications 

Results suggest that to enhance the achievement of ESL students, access to qualified 
and trained ESL teachers, and appropriate levels and types of support are required. In 
addition, achievement of ESL students may be enhanced if schools use thorough 
diagnostic and assessment processes and support communication with parents of ESL 
students. 

With respect to models of instruction (e.g., sheltered, integrated), it appears that no one 
model of instruction supports optimal achievement of ESL students. ESL students would 
benefit most from integrated classroom models during the school day, supplemented 
with additional hours of sheltered instruction to increase English proficiency. Results 
appear to support grouping by age. A structured timetabling approach appears most 
appropriate for ESL students at the elementary grade level, a semi-structured 
timetabling approach for ESL students at the junior high level, and an unstructured 
timetabling approach for ESL students with higher levels of English proficiency. 

Mentoring approaches appear to be effective at the elementary grade levels. 

Instructional methods that appear to be related to deterioration in achievement in either 
or both of math/English at the elementary level are those that tend to rely on less 
structured approaches (i.e., Balanced Literacy, Language Experience and Realia). At the 
junior high level, results indicate that Balanced Literacy, Integrated Language and 
Content Instruction, and modification approaches may be most effective. Language 
Experience, and Phonemic Awareness approaches may be least effective on improved 
achievement in English and/or math. 



8 The Calgary Board of Education’s English as a Second Language: English Language Proficiency Benchmarks (2005) 
provides a summary description of the instructional methods discussed in this report. 



10 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



6. RECOMMENDATIONS 

6.1 RECOMMENDATIONS OF STUDY PARTICIPANTS 

Study participants were asked to identify recommendations to address the needs of ESL 
students. These included experts/stakeholders, case study participants, and school 
principals who participated in the province-wide survey. Some of their recommendations 
are also supported in the literature and by predictor variables and they include the 
following: 

1 . Appropriate assessment tests for ESL students including psychological tests 

2. Formalized assessment processes for ESL students 

3. Standards for teaching requirements for teachers of ESL students 

4. Collaborative research agenda with universities 

5. Standardized program guidelines for ESL including junior high 

6. Equitable support for all ESL students (those integrated into mainstream classes 
as well as those in segregated programs such as the Kanadier program) 

7. Development of support programs for parents and students to work on at home 

8. Revised funding structure for ESL relative to student need 

9. Increased funding support for ESL (hiring of trained teachers and assistants, 
psychological assessment of ESL students, full-time ESL designated teachers, 
teacher training/professional development) 

10. Maintained support for ESL students after they leave segregated ESL programs 

1 1 . Creation of a research and development team within the Ministry of Alberta 
Education 

12. Collaboration with universities to offer more ESL programs in teacher education 
programs 

13. Support for a cross-ministerial response to address the needs of ESL students 

14. Increased parent involvement/voice in schools 

15. Support for information sharing across jurisdictions 

16. Maintained communication between Reception Centres and schools 

17. Development of assessment processes for ESL students with learning disabilities 

18. Effort to reduce attrition of ESL students 



6.2 Consultant Recommendations 

Howard Research makes the following recommendations: 



RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALBERTA EDUCATION 



Recommendation #1 - Re-examine the current funding structure for K-12 ESL. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analyses conducted in this study indicate that the longer it has been since 
funding for ESL students has been terminated, the less likely they are to remain in the 
Alberta Education school system and at grade level if they are still in the school system. 
ESL students do not complete Provincial Achievement Tests with the same frequency or 
level of success as their English-proficient peers. Data from case studies and 



11 






K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



experts/stakeholders indicate that ESL students who enter the system at junior and 
senior high ages experience significant challenges to learning English and completing 
diploma requirements within the five-year window of additional funding support. Data 
from the predictive analyses also suggest that those students with limited first language 
proficiency, special needs, lower English proficiency levels, or having refugee status 
may require additional ESL instructional supports. 

A more flexible approach needs to be developed to determine appropriate level of 
funding to match level of proficiency in English that also takes into account other 
influencing factors such as socioeconomic status, years of prior formal schooling, and 
proficiency in first language. 

Note: Recommendation #1 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #6, #8 and 
# 10 . 



Recommendation #2 - Develop a recommended list of diagnostic and assessment 
instruments appropriate for use with K-12 ESL students to improve consistency 
and standardization in assessing, interpreting and reporting test results. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analyses findings indicate that Schools that report using high quality English 
proficiency diagnostic and assessment tests, along with comprehensive tracking 
processes, have ESL students who demonstrate greater gains in academic 
achievement. A recommended list of diagnostic and assessment instruments would help 
to achieve accurate and consistent placement of ESL students across jurisdictions. To 
facilitate determination of the impact of various instructional strategies on achievement 
of ESL students, a core set of information needs to be collected uniformly over time — 
preferably electronically. 

Data collected in this study indicate great variability with respect to tools and processes 
used to assess English proficiency of ESL students as well as in the type and depth of 
information collected on ESL students. A general gap in quality instruments normed on 
Alberta students is reported. 

Note: Recommendation #2 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #1, #2, #15 
and #17. 



Recommendation #3 - Develop K-12 ESL proficiency standards and guidelines for 
instructional strategies articulated with the Alberta Program of Studies. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analyses findings from this study indicate that schools that report using 
structured methods of instruction for ESL students have ESL students who demonstrate 
greater gains in academic achievement. Few schools reported having comprehensive 
plans for ESL instruction. Case study schools, experts and stakeholders reported 
concern about lack of a province-wide curriculum for K-12 ESL. Junior high is seen as a 
particular gap. 



12 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Foundational and seminal work in ESL is underway in some school jurisdictions with 
respect to ESL instruction and benchmarking student progress. Alberta Education and 
school jurisdictions could build on this existing work to develop guidelines and suggested 
approaches and strategies for ESL instruction that are articulated across grade levels 
and linked to the Alberta Program of Studies. Resource support for development and 
implementation of the guidelines will be required at both provincial and jurisdictional 
levels. 

Note: Recommendation #3 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #5. 
This recommendation is also supported by Alberta’s Commission on Learning 
recommendation #52: Create provincial proficiency standards for assessing ESL 
students, students who are not proficient in English, and French language upgrading 
students, and provide funding until students reach the standard. 



RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOL JURISDICTIONS 



Recommendation #4 - Ensure that K-12 ESL students have sufficient support and 
time to learn English and subject matter content. 

Rationale: 

Previous research indicates that 5 to 7 years are required for ESL students to gain full 
proficiency in English. While conversational English can be learned fairly quickly, it takes 
much longer to learn cognitive skills. If a single model of instruction is used, an 
integrated model appears most supportive of ESL student achievement in English and 
math. Sheltered models appear inappropriate at the elementary level and may lead to 
deterioration in math. At the junior high level, pull-out models appear to lead to 
improvement in English but deterioration in math, while in-class support models appear 
to lead to improvement in math but deterioration in English. 

Previous research also indicates that instruction in the ESL student’s first language (LI) 
supports acquisition of the second language (L2). In order for a student whose first 
language is English to gain proficiency in a second language, 1.5 to 4.5 hours of 
instruction per week are required (doubling that amount if advanced proficiency is 
desired). ESL students in Alberta schools could benefit from instruction in their first 
language. However, introducing the range of first languages of ESL students into the 
school day would have significant impact on resources and timetabling. Elongating the 
school day to provide more time for students to learn both English and subject matter 
content would likely have similar impact. Therefore, other alternatives need to be 
explored such as classes for ESL students held during the summer months or 
weekends. Jurisdictions should also explore ways in which they could work more closely 
with community-based agencies and organizations to create formal and informal 
opportunities for ESL students to learn and maintain their first language in environments 
that support their interaction with age peers and adults beyond their own immediate 
families. 

Note: Recommendations #4 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #6, #8 and 
# 10 . 



13 






K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Recommendation #5 - Provide more professional development opportunities for 
practicing teachers and teacher assistants. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analysis findings from this study indicate that a positive relationship exists 
between more highly qualified and trained staff and improvements in achievement in 
ESL students. Research also supports this finding. Currently, schools report that 64% of 
mainstream teachers who teach ESL students have no training in ESL. Only 14% of 
schools reported that ESL designated teachers have a diploma, certificate or degree in 
ESL. 

Professional development programs for practicing teachers and teacher assistants need 
to be developed in collaboration with universities, colleges, and training institutes to 
develop a comprehensive and articulated in-service program that leads to certification in 
ESL (e.g., second language acquisition, cultural competence, diagnosis and 
assessment). Professional development opportunities need to be made affordable and 
accessible to practicing teachers and teacher assistants. Options for electronic delivery 
and self-study should be explored. Incentives to encourage teachers to engage in ESL 
professional development opportunities should be explored (e.g., bursaries). 

Note: Recommendation #5 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #9 and #3. 



RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOL JURISDICTIONS 



Recommendation #6 - Create more opportunities for inclusion of K-12 ESL-related 
courses in teacher education programs and increase placement opportunities for 
student teachers in schools with large numbers of ESL students. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analysis findings from this study indicate that a positive relationship exists 
between more highly qualified and trained staff and improvements in academic 
achievement by ESL students. Research also supports this finding. Data from case 
studies and experts/stakeholders indicate that pre-service teachers are limited in the 
number and breadth of ESL-related courses that can be included in their undergraduate 
programs. Further, data indicate that schools with large numbers of ESL students are 
reluctant to take on the responsibility of student teachers given the added burden on 
ESL teachers. 

To address the shortage of teachers who are skilled and qualified in ESL, universities 
and school jurisdictions should engage in discussions with Alberta Education and 
Advanced Education and possibly other Ministries to examine the creation of appropriate 
programs and possibly additional placement opportunities for undergraduate students 
who are interested in pursuing programs in ESL. This would align with the province’s 
strategy of supporting immigrants and immigration to Alberta. 



14 






K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Additionally, incentives may need to be developed for schools with large numbers of 
ESL students to accommodate student teachers and, with the university, derive mutual 
benefit from that involvement. 

Note: Recommendation #6 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #3 and #12. 

Recommendation #7 - Develop a research agenda that addresses priority 
questions and issues related to K-12 ESL in Alberta. 

Rationale: 

Data from this study indicate that Canadian-born ESL students are not achieving as well 
as foreign-born ESL students. This situation is untenable for Alberta and for Canada. 
Further research needs to be conducted to understand why Canadian-born ESL 
students are achieving at lower levels than their foreign-born counterparts, and why they 
are leaving the system earlier. 

Currently, no schools report following ESL students who leave school early. Alberta- 
based research provides some insight into reasons for early leaving. This and other 
important questions need to be addressed and may form a research agenda that could 
also include, for example: 

• Comparison of various instructional strategies across jurisdictions linked to 
achievement of ESL students; 

• Development of diagnostic and assessment tools and processes normed on 
Alberta students; 

• Identification of diagnostic and assessment tools and processes for ESL students 
with special needs; and 

• Longitudinal tracking of ESL high school completions, post-secondary 
completion and employment levels. 

Note: Recommendation #7 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #4 and #11. 



RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EDUCATION AND ADVANCED EDUCATION 



Recommendation #8 - Explore transition options for ESL students to complete 
high school requirements. 

Rationale: 

Many ESL students require an additional year(s) beyond the age of 20 to complete 
diploma requirements. Consideration should be given to creating a mechanism that 
supports continuous enrolment of ESL students in a high school or post-secondary 
setting to allow them time to complete high school and to avoid the current year-long 
wait ESL students experience as they transition from high school to post-secondary 
institutions. 

Note: Recommendation #8 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendation #13. 



15 






K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



INTRODUCTION 



NOTE: The comprehensive nature of this study necessitated a two-part presentation: 

1) Synthesis of Results and Recommendations which is the subject of this report, and 2) 
a set of K-12 ESL Study Appendices containing individual components of the study each 
as its own stand-alone report: Literature Review, Case Studies, Predictive Analysis, and 
Technical Report Data Tables (Descriptive Analysis). These are presented under a 
separate cover. As well, a set of Appendices contains other materials such as 
instruments used for data collection purposes. 



RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY 

Between October 2004 and September 2005 Howard Research & Management 
Consulting Inc. was contracted by Alberta Learning to conduct a needs assessment 
study to identify the current state of affairs with respect to K-12 English as a Second 
Language (ESL) in Alberta, Canada. The study was commissioned to improve 
understanding of the factors that influence and possibly predict the academic success of 
ESL students in order to assist the Ministry with decisions related to curriculum 
development, resource allocation, and support provision to ESL students. The value of 
the study lies in learning what optimal supports are required to maximize the educational 
achievements of ESL students. 

The current ESL student population in Alberta is estimated at 37,300. Based on 
Citizenship and Immigration Canada data, there are approximately 1,500 new arrivals to 
Alberta between the ages of 0-18 each month 9 . New arrivals settle predominantly in 
Calgary (58% new arrivals) and in Edmonton (29% new arrivals), with the remainder 
scattered throughout the province (See Table la). 



Table la. Top 20 Reported Destinations of New Immigrants (Ages 0-18) 



Destination 


Percentage 


Calgary 


57.82 


Edmonton 


28.82 


Red Deer 


1.29 


Lethbridge 


1.07 


Medicine Hat 


0.85 


Fort McMurray 


0.82 


Brooks 


0.51 


Sherwood Park 


0.45 


Grande Prairie 


0.42 


Cochrane 


0.34 


St Albert 


0.34 


Canmore 


0.32 


Banff 


0.30 



9 This estimate is based on 2003 IMM1000 data which indicated 1,320 new arrivals per month. An estimated 14% 
increase was applied to this rate. This includes primary migration patterns only. 



16 





K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Destination 


Percentage 


Okotoks 


0.23 


Fort Macleod 


0.20 


Wetaskiwin 


0.18 


Camrose 


0.18 


Airdrie 


0.17 


Lacombe 


0.16 



Many (49%) of these new arrivals have no or limited English proficiency. However, not 
all ESL students attending Alberta schools were born outside this country. Some were 
born in Canada. Some were born here in Alberta. 

Since the 1998/99 school year in which 17,200 ESL students were registered in the 
Alberta education system, the number of ESL students has been increasing by an 
average of 14% per year. This growing population has significant implications for 
Alberta’s education system and for the province overall. It is important to learn what 
influences and best supports the academic achievements of this group of students. 

The current distribution of ESL students in Alberta schools by top 20 cities is presented 
in Table 1b 10 . The cities in this table are ordered by overall ESL student numbers. 

Table 1b. Top 20 Locations of ESL Students 2003/04 



City 


% Overall 
(N=33,405) 


% Canadian 
Born (code 303) 
(N=1 6,358) 


% Non-funded 
(code 302) 
(N=888) 


% Foreign-born 
(code 301) 
(N=1 6,1 58) 


Calgary 


56.1% 


48.9% 


35.2% 


64.6% 


Edmonton 


18.1% 


14.7% 


12.7% 


21.8% 


Wabasca 


2.6% 


5.4% 


0.0% 


0.0% 


Lethbridge 


1 .6% 


2.3% 


0.2% 


0.9% 


Strathmore 


1 .3% 


2.6% 


0.1% 


0.0% 


Fort McMurray 


1.1% 


1 .2% 


8.7% 


0.6% 


Taber 


0.7% 


1.3% 


0.0% 


0.2% 


Gift Lake 


0.6% 


1 .2% 


0.0% 


0.0% 


Grande Prairie 


0.6% 


0.4% 


0.2% 


0.7% 


Camrose 


0.5% 


1.1% 


0.6% 


0.0% 


Red Deer 


0.5% 


0.2% 


1 .4% 


0.8% 


Chestemere 


0.5% 


0.2% 


0.0% 


0.8% 


Brooks 


0.5% 


0.2% 


1.1% 


0.7% 


Two Hills 


0.4% 


0.4% 


0.0% 


0.5% 


Calling Lake 


0.4% 


0.9% 


0.0% 


0.0% 


Peerless Lake 


0.4% 


0.8% 


0.0% 


0.0% 


Cadotte Lake 


0.4% 


0.8% 


0.0% 


0.0% 


La Crete 


0.4% 


0.6% 


0.0% 


0.2% 


Trout Lake 


0.4% 


0.7% 


0.0% 


0.0% 


High Prairie 


0.3% 


0.6% 


0.1% 


0.1% 


Total 


87.5% 


84.6% 


60.4% 


91.9% 



10 Estimates are based on Public and Separate systems only. 



17 






K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Other relatively high proportions of non-funded students are found in the following 
locations: 



Cleardale 


4.5% 


Canmore 


2.9% 


Jasper 


2.8% 


St. Albert 


2.1% 


Fort Chipewyan 


1 .8% 


Sherwood Park 


1 .6% 


Medicine Hat 


1.5% 


Bonnyville 


1 .4% 


High River 


1 .2% 


Rainier 


1 .2% 


Airdrie 


1.1% 



METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH 

Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used to design and conduct this 
study. A variety of methods were used including literature review, case study, 
stakeholder/expert interviews, province-wide survey school survey, and analysis of 
Alberta Education data. Each data collection strategy is described more fully below. 



Literature Review 

The purpose of the literature review was to examine the current literature (1995-2005) in 
five thematic areas. This included an examination of: 1) the predictors of K-12 ESL 
student achievement, 2) evidence regarding the effectiveness of various program 
delivery models, 3) evidence and best practice suggestions for various instructional 
methods, 4) a review of various dimensions of school leadership practices for creating 
an optimal ESL environment, and 5) a review of best practice recommendations in the 
area of ESL student diagnostics and assessment. 

Relevant databases (ERIC, Psychlnfo, LLBA, and Sociological Abstracts) and grey 
literature were searched. Reference lists of relevant documents were also cross- 
referenced for additional publications. 

The literature review is included in its entirety in the Study Appendices. 



Case Studies 

The purpose of the case studies was to identify current program implementation 
practices with respect to: 

a) Funding 

b) Assessment (intake and ongoing and challenges) 

c) Program delivery (i.e. , instructional methods) 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



d) PATs (Provincial Achievement Tests) 

e) Successes and challenges 

f) Leadership 

g) Best practices: academic achievement and social adjustment 

h) Influencers on social adjustment of ESL students 

i) Facilitators and barriers to implementing best practices 

j) Influencers on early leavers 

k) Recommendations for priority action 



Eight schools were selected as case study sites. Schools included: 
Table 2. Case Study Sites 



School 


School Jurisdiction 


Location 


St. Joseph High School 


Edmonton Catholic School Board 


Edmonton 


Harry Ainlay High School 


Edmonton Public School Board 


Edmonton 


Annie Gale Junior High School 


Calgary Board of Education 


Calgary 


Sacred Heart Elementary 


Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District 


Calgary 


Sundre High School 


Chinook’s Edge Division 


Sundre 


Eastbrook Elementary 


Grasslands Public Schools 


Brooks 


Vauxhall Elementary 


Horizon School Division 


Vauxhall 


St. Theresa School 


Northland School Division 


Wabasca 

Demarais 



Schools invited to participate were selected to provide a mix of urban/rural perspectives 
and practices with respect to ESL program implementation. At all sites the consultants 
spent at least a full day interviewing participants and observing classes in operation. 

A variety of school personnel participated in semi-structured interviews (principal, ESL 
designate teacher(s), classroom teachers, support professionals (e.g., guidance 
counselors, liaisons), and teaching assistants. Approximately five individuals were 
interviewed at each school. As well, at two schools (both rural), a small group of parents 
was interviewed (individual and small group discussions). 

Interview guides were distributed to school-based participants in advance of the 
interviews. (The interview guides are included in the Study Appendices.) 

Interview data were thematized according to areas of inquiry listed above. Direct quotes 
from participants were used to capture variability in experiences and perspectives, 
where appropriate. Draft case study reports were presented to the schools for their 
review. Drafts were finalized following verification by school representative(s) (final 
verification for the Sacred Heart case study had not been received at the time of printing 
this report). 



Stakeholder/Expert Interviews 

The purpose of the stakeholder/expert interviews was to investigate and contribute 
information to the following areas of inquiry of the study: 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



a) Predictors of success 

b) Best practices related to diagnosis and assessment of ESL learners, instructional 
strategies and resources, delivery methods, mentoring supports and community 
supports 

c) Facilitators and barriers of implementing best practices 

d) Best use of Ministry and AISI (Alberta Initiative for School Improvement) funds 

e) Pre-service and in-service teaching requirements 

f) Community supports 

g) Recommendations 

A qualitative approach was used for this component of the study. Semi-structured 
interviews (ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours) and focus group discussions (ranging from 45 
minutes to 2 hours) were held with a total of 47 participants. Interviewees were initially 
identified by Alberta Education, and then through a snowball approach, interviewees 
themselves identified other appropriate people who they felt could contribute valuable 
information to the study. (A copy of the interview guides is included in the Study 
Appendices.) 

Except for two telephone interviews, all interviews and focus group discussions were 
conducted in person. Interview questions were prepared and distributed to participants in 
advance of the interviews. Participants were invited to prepare responses to the 
questions if they so chose, but this was not required. 

Interviewees represented large and small school jurisdictions (administrators, teachers, 
and consultant/specialists); universities; professional associations; immigrant serving 
agencies; adult education providers; advocacy agency and advisory groups. (A complete 
listing of participants is included in the Study Appendices). 

Data were content analyzed and subjected to three levels of analysis. First level analysis 
identified meaning units within each interview, second level analysis identified meanings 
common within each group interviewed and category of investigation, and third level 
analysis resulted in the identification of meanings/findings common across participant 
groups. This method allowed the consultants to identify significant themes across the 
data sets and arrive at conclusions and insights to create a comprehensive assessment 
of perspectives. Frequency counts on perspectives were not conducted. 



Province-wide School Survey 

The purpose of the province-wide school survey was to gather both descriptive 
information regarding the current state of affairs in schools across the province with 
respect to K-12 ESL student programming. In addition, the School Survey was used in 
combination with data obtained from Alberta Education to analyze the relationships 
between school level predictors and K-12 ESL student achievement of success. 



20 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Selection Approach 

A staged random selection approach was used to select schools for participation in the 
ESL School Survey. A visual representation of the school selection process is 
represented in Figure 1. In selecting schools the following selection criteria were used: 

Criterion 1 : In 2003/2004 there were 2,122 schools with registered students in 
Kindergarten to grade 12. A joint decision between the researchers and representatives 
of Alberta Education was made to restrict the study to those in the public or separate 
jurisdictions. Over 81% (1,725) of Alberta schools met this criterion. 

Criterion 2: The second criterion for inclusion into this study was the presence of at least 
one ESL student in the school in the 2003/04. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the schools 
within public or separate jurisdictions met this criterion. 

Criterion 3: The third criterion involved identifying grade cohorts that existed within each 
of the above identified schools. The four grade cohorts included: grades 10-12, grades 
7-9, grades 4-6 and grades K-3. As part of criterion 3, schools were selected if they had 
at least one ESL student represented in grades in which Provincial Achievement Exams 
or Diploma Exams are written (i.e., grades 3, 6, 9 and 12). 

Criterion 4: The fourth criterion introduced the staged approach to random selection. 
Given that there are fewer schools representing later grade cohorts, the selection 
process was applied in descending order of grade cohort level. As there were only 21 1 
schools offering grades 10-12, all were selected to respond to the grade 10-12 version of 
the School Survey. To avoid a situation where principals were asked to respond to more 
than one survey, the schools selected as part of the 10-12 cohort, were eliminated from 
the random selection process in the selection of subsequent cohorts. This same process 
was followed for each subsequent grade cohort. Using this process, 300 schools each 
were selected to represent the remaining grade cohorts. 

Criterion 5: The final criterion was applied after the surveys were distributed. After 
distribution of the surveys it was discovered that there were principals that represented 
more than one school. Principals that that received surveys represented three or more 
schools were contacted by phone and asked to complete one School Survey (or 
maximum of two) among those they were sent. These schools were randomly selected 
by the researchers. 



21 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Criteria 

3 



Criteria 

4 



Random 
Se lecti on 



Criteria 

5 



Res pondents 



AJI Schools in Alberta 
Grades K-12 with 
at least 1 student in 2003/04 
2122 Schools 



iteria^ 



Criteri 
1 



Other Schools 
397 Schools 
(18.7%) 

Public or Separate Schools! 
1 725 Schools 
(8K2%) 

No ESL Student: 
in 2003/04 
548 Schools 
( 3 1 .8 % ) 



Criteria 

2 



At least 1 ESL student 
fin 2003/04 
1177 Schools 
( 68 . 2 %) 

^ Grades 10-12 

211 Schools 

Or 

Grades 7-9 
443 Schools 

Or 

Grades 4-6 
580 Schools 

0 r 

Grades K-3 
626 Schools 






Grades 10-12 




Grades 10-12 




Grades 10-12 




21 1 Schools 




211 Schools 




207 Schools 




Grades 7-9 




Grades 7-9 




Grades 7-9 




31 6 Schools 




300 Schools 




278 Schools 




Grades 4-6 




Grades 4-6 




Grades 4-6 ' 




560 Schools 




300 Schools 




296 Schools 


-» 


Grades K-3 


-> 


Grades K-3 




Grades K-3 




345 Schools 




300 Schools 




291 Schools 




Grades 10-12 
Principal and Teacher 


62 




56 


6 


Principal Only 


11 




8 


3 


T eacher 0 nly 


5 




4 


1 


No ESL students / Not valid 


35 








Response Rate 


113 (54.6%) 






Valid 


78 


4 


68 


10 


Grades 7-9 

1 P rincipa 1 and Teacher 


93 




82 


1 1 


Principal Only 


9 




7 


2 


T eacher 0 nly 


17 




17 


0 


No ES L students 


29 








Sub-total 


148 


(53.2%) 






Valid 


119 


4 


106 


13 


Grades 4-6 
Principal and Teacher 


118 




109 


9 


Principal Only 


23 


-» 


18 


5 


T eacher 0 nly 


8 




8 


0 


No ES L students 


16 








Sub-total 


165 


(55.7%) 






Valid 


149 




135 


14 


Grades K-3 
Principal and Teacher 


118 


-» 


116 


2 


Principal Only 


13 




1 1 


2 


T eacher 0 nly 


14 




14 


0 


No ES L students 


21 








Sub-total 


166 


(57.0%) 






Valid 


145 


-> 


141 


4 


T ota 1 

Principal and Teacher 


395 


-> 


363 


28 


Principal Only 


59 




44 


12 


T eacher 0 nly 


44 


-> 


43 


1 


No ESL stud ents 


94 









S ub -total 
Valid 



592 (55.2%) 
491 



450 



Figure 1. School Selection and Response Pathway 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Administration Procedure 

Surveys were mailed February 14, 2005 and were returned by 403 schools by April 18, 2005 
Reminders were sent to jurisdictional representatives with schools that had less than a 75% 
response rate and an additional 189 schools responded by May 15, 2005. 



Survey Responses 

A total of 1 ,072 schools representing the four grade cohorts were asked to complete the 
Teacher and Principal Surveys. All surveys were subject to validation process. Survey 
responses that appeared to relate to the requested grade cohort were classified level 1 data 
and used in both descriptive and predictive analyses. Survey responses that appeared to 
relate to ESL students across multiple grade cohorts were classified level 2 data and were 
represented in the descriptive analyses only (See Figure 1). 

In the grade 10-12 cohort, 113 of 207 (representing a 55% response rate) schools returned 
surveys and of these 78 had data pertaining to ESL students. 

In the grade 7-9 cohort, 148 of 278 (representing a 53% response rate) schools returned 
surveys and of these 119 had data pertaining to ESL students. 

In the grade 4-6 cohort, 165 of 296 (representing a 56% response rate) schools returned 
surveys and of these 149 had data pertaining to ESL students. 

In the grade K -3 cohort, 166 of 291 (representing a 57% response rate) schools returned 
surveys and of these 145 had data pertaining to ESL students. 



Analysis 

The purpose of the province-wide school survey was to gather descriptive information 
regarding the current state of affairs in schools across the province with respect to ESL 
student programming. In addition, the school survey was used in combination with data 
obtained from Alberta Education to analyze the relationships between school-level 
predictors and ESL student achievement of success. 

A staged random selection approach was used to select schools for participation in the ESL 
school survey. A total of 1 ,072 schools representing the four grade cohorts were asked to 
complete the teacher and principal surveys. Response rates ranged from 53% to 57% 
across the four cohorts. School-based data were then combined with data from Alberta 
Education to identify relationships between school-level predictors and ESL student 
achievement on Provincial Achievement Tests/Diploma Exams. 

For descriptive purposes, analyses of school survey data consisted of simple cross- 
tabulations. For school-level predictive analyses, data collected at the school level were 
directly merged with data from Alberta Education and simple regression analyses were 
conducted on the combined data. For individual-level analyses, data provided by Alberta 
Education were also analyzed using a simple regression approach. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Limitations 

There are several limitations with a study of this type. 



• First, all relationships that are identified are co-relational in nature and not 
causal. It is important to emphasize that though some causal relationships are 
more plausible than others, it is important that all relationships be viewed within 
the context of the qualitative data collected as well as the literature. 

• Second, the sample sizes associated with some outcome measures were less 
than ideal. As a result of the lower retention rates of ESL students in the school 
system and lower rates of completion on Provincial Achievement Tests/Diploma 
Exams (PAT/DEs), the effects associated with achievement levels should be 
interpreted with caution, particularly at the senior high level. 

• Third, variability in the number of ESL students across schools resulted in 
inadequate sample sizes within schools to estimate regression parameters using 
hierarchical linear modeling. As a result, school-level data were merged to the 
individual outcome data (Information Systems data) using the school code as a 
merge variable. It should be noted that this approach tends to overestimate the 
predictive effects of the school context variables. Given these limitations it is 
important to examine the predictive results, particularly those involving school 
based predictors, in terms of trends across cohort groups or across similar 
predictor themes. It is also important to consider the size of a particular predictive 
effect in addition to statistical significance. 

• The funding models have changed over the last years, from three year caps, to 
four year caps and more recently to a five year cap. It is not possible to account 
for these changes in the longitudinal predictive analyses that were conducted. It 
is possible that these changes may have confounded some of the results 
obtained. 

• There may be variability in how jurisdictions are interpreting the 302 funding 
code. It is uncertain if this is being used to identify international students, 
previously funded ESL students who are no longer funded or other being used in 
other circumstances. 



PRESENTATION OF RESULTS 

This report is organized into three major sections: 

A. ESL Processes and Practices 

B. Predictors of ESL Student Outcomes 

C. Recommendations 

Within sections, study findings are reported according to the following key areas of inquiry: 

A1 . Description of ESL Students in Alberta Schools 
A2. Assessment of English Language Proficiency 
A3. Information Tracking 
A4. Leadership Processes 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



A5. Instructional Processes/Models 

A6. Pre-service and In-service Requirements 

A7. Reasons for Early Leaving 

B1 . Literature: Predictors of ESL Student Success 

B2. Stakeholders/Experts: Predictors of ESL Student Success 

B3. Case Studies: Predictors of ESL Student Success 

B4. System and Province-wide School Survey Predictive Analysis 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



A. ESL PROCESSES AND PRACTICES 



The following results section is based on data collected through the literature review (1995- 
2005), interviews with stakeholder/experts, case studies in 8 Alberta schools, and a 
province-wide survey of Alberta schools. A predictive analysis was conducted using Alberta 
Education system data and the province-wide school survey data. The predictive analysis is 
contained in section B of this report. 

NOTE 1 : The majority of tables presented in this section are taken from the descriptive 
analysis contained in the Technical Report located in the ESL Study Appendices. For 
example Table 2.0 below is based on Table P1A in the Technical Report. “P” stands for 
principal survey and “T” represents teacher survey data. 

NOTE: 2 : In many of the tables the total percentage does not exactly equal 100%. This is 
due to rounding error. 



A1. DESCRIPTION OF ESL STUDENTS IN ALBERTA SCHOOLS 

As provided by Alberta Education data, in 2004/2005 there were 37,261 ESL students in 
Alberta across 2,122 schools. In this study, a total of 475 schools 11 from 51 Alberta school 
jurisdictions responded to the school surveys distributed during the 2004/2005 school year. 



Table 3. School and ESL Student Representation (2004/2005) 



2004 / 2005 School 
Year 


Alberta Education 
School System 


Public / Separate 
Systems 


Represented in 
Study 


Number of Schools 


2,122 


1,725 


475 


Number of Students 


37,261 


35,195 


11,792 



Proportion of ESL Students in Respondent Schools 

On average, respondent schools reported that 17% of their school population was ESL (See 
Table 6). School size varied from very small (1-10 students) to very large (more than 800 
students). The proportion of ESL students in a given school also varied. For example, 
schools with between 51 and 100 students reported from 1-5 ESL students to 26 or more 
ESL students. 



11 Surveys were distributed only to public and separate school jurisdictions. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 4. Proportion of ESL Students in Schools 



School Population by School Size 





ESL Student Population 


1-5 ESL 
Students 


6-25 ESL 
Students 


26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Subtotal 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


1 to 10 Students 




6.0 


8 


4.8 


0 


0.0 


17 


3.9 


1 1 to 50 Students 




6.0 


12 


7.2 


2 


1.7 


23 


5.3 


51 to 100 Students 


21 


13.9 


17 


10.2 


6 


5.2 


44 


10.2 


101 to 200 Students 


47 


31.1 


36 


21.6 


32 


27.8 


115 


26.6 


201 to 400 Students 


40 


26.5 


51 


30.5 


37 


32.2 


128 


29.6 


401 to 800 Students 


21 


13.9 


36 


21.6 


25 


21.7 


82 


18.9 


801 or More Students 


4 


2.6 


7 


4.2 


13 


11.3 


24 


5.5 



Thirty-four percent (34%) of schools reported having 1 to 5 ESL students, 39% of schools 
had 6 to 25 ESL students, and 26% of schools reported more than 25 ESL students in their 
schools. 



Table 5. Proportion of Schools by Size of ESL Student Population 
(Table P2) 



Number of Schools by ESL Student Population 


ESL Student Population 


N 


% 


1-5 ESL Students 


164 


34.6 


6-25 ESL Students 


185 


39.0 


26 or more ESL Students 


125 


26.4 


Total 


474 


100.0 



High schools reported the lowest proportion of ESL students per student population. 



Table 6. Proportion of ESL Students in Overall School Population 



Proportion of School Population that is ESL 







ESL Student Population 




Group Total 




1-5 ESL 
Students 


6-25 ESL 
Students 


26 or more 
ESL 

Students 






Grade Level 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Kindergarten to Grade 3 


43 


4.0 


53 


16.0 


44 


25.0 


140 


16.0 


Grade 4 to Grade 6 


45 


7.0 


56 


12.0 


29 


53.0 


130 


20.0 


Grade 7 to Grade 9 


34 


22.0 


45 


22.0 


24 


19.0 


103 


21.0 


Grade 10 to Grade 12 


25 


2.0 


18 


7.0 


20 


17.0 


63 


7.0 


Multiple Grade 
Categories 


17 


1.0 


13 


18.0 


8 


28.0 


38 


13.0 


Total 


164 


7.0 


185 


16.0 


125 


30.0 


474 


17.0 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



ESL Student Population by Funding Code 

ESL students were identified as one of three categories: foreign-born students (code 301), 
non-funded ESL students (code 302), and Canadian-born ESL students (code 303). The 
largest proportion of ESL students (55%) in this study was reported as foreign-born (code 
301). 

As Table 7 indicates, the proportion of Canadian-born ESL students steadily decreases with 
grade level. Only in the K-3 category were more Canadian-born ESL students reported than 
foreign-born. 



Table 7. Proportion of Canadian-born and Foreign-born in Alberta Schools 



ESL Student Population by Grade Level and ESL Code 


Grade Level 


Group Total 


% 


Kindergarten Q3a: Percent of ESL students foreign-born (code 301 ) 


46.75 


10 Grad© o 

Q3c: Percent of ESL students Canadian-born (code 303) 


50.62 


Grade 4 to Q3a: Percent of ESL students foreign-born (code 301 ) 


53.48 


Grade 6 

Q3c: Percent of ESL students Canadian-born (code 303) 


40.39 


Grade 7 to Q3a: Percent of ESL students foreign-born (code 301 ) 


57.58 


Grade 9 Q3c: p ercen ( Q f [=si_ s t u dent S Canadian-born (code 303) 


36.32 


Grade 1 0 to Q3a: Percent of ESL students foreign-born (code 301 ) 


75.57 


Grad© 1 2 

Q3c: Percent of ESL students Canadian-born (code 303) 


9.74 


Subtotal Q3a: Percent of ESL students foreign-born (code 301 ) 


55.75 


Q3b: Percent of ESL students non-funded (code 302) 


6.19 


Q3c: Percent of ESL students Canadian-born (code 303) 


37.88 



Overall, 5% of ESL students in this study were reported to be refugees. Approximately 
twenty-percent (20%) of schools reported having refugee students. Fewer refugee students 
were reported in the K-3 category than in older grade categories. 

Table 8. Percentage of Refugee Students as a Function of ESL Population 



Proportion of Refugee ESL Students 



Number of Refugee Students 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Subtotal 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


No Refugee Students 


107 


94.7 


93 


80.9 


42 


55.3 


242 


79.6 


1 to 2 Refugee Students 


5 


4.4 


10 


8.7 


15 


19.7 


30 


9.9 


3 to 5 Refugee Students 


1 


0.9 


7 


6.1 


4 


5.3 


12 


3.9 


6 to 10 Refugee Students 


0 


0.0 


3 


2.6 


8 


10.5 


11 


3.6 


10 or more Refugee Students 


0 


0.0 


2 


1.7 


7 


9.2 


9 


3.0 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 9. Percentage of ESL Students in Alberta Schools Who are Refugees 



Proportion of 1 


Refugees in ESL Student 1 


Population 




Number of Schools 


Percentage Refugees 


Grade Level 








N 


% 


Kindergarten to Grade 3 


140 


3% 


Grade 4 to Grade 6 


130 


5% 


Grade 7 to Grade 9 


103 


3% 


Grade 10 to Grade 12 


63 


13% 


Multiple Grade Categories 


38 


6% 


Average 


474 


5% 



A2. ASSESSMENT OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY 
Literature: Assessment of English Language Proficiency 

Assessment of English language proficiency is an important benchmark for educational 
planning for ESL students. Trained assessors and consistent assessment practices across 
settings is key. Assessment of vocabulary recall, conversational output, oral reading, and 
written language ability should be assessed. Multiple measures and authentic assessment 
are recommended to provide a realistic picture of a student’s proficiency in English (L2). 

Hargett (1998) provided a description of several of the more commonly-used assessment 
instruments available. Some of these instruments included Language Assessment Scales, 
Oral (LAS-O); Language Assessment Scales, Reading and Writing; Woodcock-Munoz 
Language Survey; IDEA Oral Language Proficiency Tests (IPT); and Secondary Level 
English Proficiency (SLEP) Test. Unfortunately, little information is available on a critical 
review of these instruments. Most were identified as applicable to students in the USA. 

Stakeholders/Experts: Assessment of English Language Proficiency 

Assessment of proficiency in English is critical to appropriate placement of ESL students. 
Stakeholders/experts cautioned that proficiency in oral language (English) can mask 
comprehension so that while a student’s conversational English may appear to allow the 
student to function socially quite well with his/her age peers, the student’s level of cognitive 
understanding may be at a much lower level. Therefore, assessment of both oral and 
cognitive proficiency in English is important. 

Assessment of oral and cognitive proficiency typically involves students reading English 
passages followed by oral question/answer sessions conducted in English. Students are 
also typically asked to describe the composition of their family unit, how and why they came 
to Canada, and schooling background in their home country. 

Stakeholders/experts generally agreed that there is a lack of good assessment 
tools/instruments available that are normed for ESL students in Alberta. One of the 
confounding factors that may be influencing current assessment practices in Alberta schools 



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is the inconsistent interpretation and application of the five levels describing English 
proficiency as set out by the Ministry (Senior High English as a Second Language Program 
of Studies). 

Best assessment practices would be reflected by: 

■ Culturally appropriate, evidence-based assessment tools and instruments — 
particularly suited to distinguishing cognitive from oral proficiency and language from 
learning problems 

■ Qualified and skilled assessors 

■ Consistent assessment processes including consistent methods used to interpret 
results 

Other best practice strategies for assessment identified by stakeholders/experts included: 

■ holistic and authentic assessments 

■ availability of psychological assessment in cases where students may suffer post- 
traumatic stress 

■ cultural liaisons who can familiarize the family with the school system and how it 
functions 

Case Studies: Assessment of English Language Proficiency 

Across the eight case study schools, most assessment occurred at the school level without 
jurisdiction involvement--the exception being the formal Reception Centres that exist in the 
two large urban jurisdictions (Calgary Public and Calgary Catholic). In these latter instances 
assessment of proficiency in English (L2) at intake is standardized and includes reading, 
writing, oral and listening as well as numeracy assessment. Interpreters are often used in 
the assessment process. For the Calgary Catholic system district-developed rubrics called 
Student Development Profiles form the basis of intake assessment (as well as the 
Woodcock Munoz). A variety of tools were reported by Calgary Public and these were under 
review at the time of this study. 

Even in the two jurisdictions where formal Reception Centres exist, intake assessment also 
occurs at the school level. This was referred to as “authentic assessment” and is typically 
conducted by teachers. For example, at the large urban junior high school visited in Calgary 
Public, the Diagnostic Reading Assessment and Gates-MacGinitie tests were commonly 
used. Assessment from school-based testing may supersede recommendations made by 
the jurisdiction with respect to placement of new ESL students. Where ESL students are 
suspected of having special needs and/or psychological problems, psychologists (provided 
by the jurisdiction) visit the school and assess the student in the school. These assessments 
usually occurred after a student had been placed in the school for a period of time after the 
classroom teacher had confirmed the need for further testing. Case study schools 
emphasized that it was often difficult to identify ESL students who had special needs when 
they were initially placed within the school. 

In the schools where Reception Centres did not exist, a teacher designate at the school 
(often identified as a “Special Education” teacher or “Counselor”) or sometimes the 
classroom teacher was generally responsible for administering intake assessment tests. In 
six of the eight schools visited, district-developed rubrics or registration forms were used in 
the assessment process. Writing samples were generally collected at least twice during the 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



course of the school year. Ongoing (authentic assessment) was regarded with equal or 
more importance than (standardized) test results. In one case the school reported that 
diploma exams served as assessment tools — a practice that was not regarded as optimal. 

All case study schools visited (those with formal Reception Centres as well as those without) 
reported that school-based assessment tools/instruments (e.g., Student Development 
Profile, CBE Benchmarks) were used to assess students when they arrived at the school. In 
the junior and senior high schools visited, feeder schools provided information about where 
they thought ESL students should be placed and this advice was generally followed. 

The following table indicates some of the more common published tools reported in use at 
intake and throughout the year: 



Table 10. Assessment Tools Used in Case Study Schools 



Level 


Initial Assessment 


Ongoing Assessment 


Kindergarten 


Brigance Diagnostic Inventory of 
Early Development. 




Grade 1 


Dolche Word Activity Sheers 




Elementary 


Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test 
Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey 
(WMLS) 

Woodcock-Johnson Reading Mastery 
PPVT ( Peabody Picture Vocabulary 
Test) 

CTBS ( Canadian Test of Basic Skills) 
Morrison/McCall Spelling Scale 
Bergam standards 
Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests 
Canadian Achievement Test 
Scholastic Reading Counts Program 
San Diego Quick Assessment Test 
Diagnostic Reading Exam 


Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test 
Diagnostic Reading Program 
McCall Crabbs Standard Test 
Lessons in Reading 
New Practice Readers 
Woodcock Johnson Reading Mastery 
Key Math Testing 
Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests 


Secondary 


Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey 
(WMLS) 

Diagnostic Reading Assessment 
SLEP ( Secondary Level English 
Proficiency) 


Woodcock Johnson Reading Mastery 
Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey 
(WMLS) 

Diagnostic Reading Assessment 
Kaufman Test of Educational 
Achievement 

SLEP ( Secondary Level English 
Proficiency) 

Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests 



In three of the schools visited (two urban, one rural) family liaisons were used to provide 
support during the assessment process. The liaisons typically provided background 
information about the family to the receiving school and teacher. 

It should be noted that in the northern Alberta case study (an elementary school comprised 
predominantly of Aboriginal students), assessment and diagnostic instruments were 
considered culturally inappropriate. Many of the students in this case study were of Cree 
heritage and spoke little English upon entering grade one. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



School Survey: Assessment of English Language Proficiency 

Schools were asked to indicate what diagnostic instruments were used to assess ESL 
student English proficiency. In all, some 64 different instruments were reported. The most 
commonly-reported diagnostic tool used at the K-6 level was the Diagnostic Reading 
Assessment (DRA), at the 7-9 level the Woodcock Munoz, and at the 10-12 level the 
Secondary Level English Proficiency (SLEP). 

Overall, 40% of all schools reported they used “other” instruments or diagnostic tools not 
specified in the survey. 



Table 11. English Language Proficiency Assessment Tools 





Grade Level 














Multiple 




Diagnostic Instruments 


Kindergart 


Grade 4 


Grade 7 


Grade 10 


Grade 




en to 


to Grade 


to Grade 


to Grade 


Categorie 


Group 




Grade 3 


6 


9 


12 


s 


Total 




% 


% 


% 


% 


% 


% 


ESL Student Vocabulary 
Checklist 


25.4 


25.7 


24.1 


18.9 


46.2 


25.7 


Picture Vocabulary 


32.8 


22.0 


24.1 


9.4 


34.6 


24.9 


DRA (Grade 1-3) 


45.1 


26.6 


9.2 


00.0 


7.7 


23.7 


Woodcock Munoz 


26.2 


18.3 


28.7 


15.1 


19.2 


22.7 


Reading Assessment 
Benchmark Guide 


26.2 


18.3 


25.3 


9.4 


11.5 


20.7 


Written Assessment Benchmark 
Guide 


18.9 


20.2 


24.1 


7.5 


7.7 


18.1 


DRA (Grade 4-8) 


12.3 


36.7 


6.9 


00.0 


11.5 


16.1 


Oral Assessment Benchmark 
Guide 


17.2 


13.8 


21.8 


9.4 


11.5 


15.9 


Observational Survey (Clay, 
1993) 


18.0 


18.3 


8.0 


00.0 


3.8 


12.6 


Listening Assessment 
Benchmark Guide 


13.9 


11.0 


16.1 


5.7 


7.7 


12.1 


TONI-3 Nonverbal Assessment 


4.9 


7.3 


4.6 


7.5 


7.7 


6.0 


SLEP 


2.5 


1.8 


6.9 


20.8 


3.8 


5.8 



Schools were also asked if they assessed ESL students’ language skills (listening, 
speaking, reading, and writing). Ninety-one percent (91%) of schools reported they assess 
reading skills, 88% percent reported that they assess writing skills, 76% of schools assess 
speaking skills, and 67% assess listening skills (see Tables 12). 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 12. Assessment of English Language Skills 





ESL Student Population 


Total 


Schools with 1-5 
ESL Students 


Schools with 6-25 
ESL Students 


Schools with 26 
or more ESL 
Students 


Total Schools 




N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Listening (Aural) Language Skills Assessed 


Yes 


68 


54.40 


99 


65.13 


94 


84.68 


261 


67.27 


No 


34 


27.20 


34 


22.37 


12 


10.81 


80 


20.62 


Don’t Know 


23 


18.40 


19 


12.50 


5 


4.50 


47 


12.11 


Speaking (Oral) Language Skills Assessed 


Yes 


77 


61.60 


118 


77.60 


101 


91.00 


296 


76.30 


No 


27 


21.60 


21 


13.80 


5 


4.50 


53 


13.70 


Don’t Know 


21 


16.80 


13 


8.60 


5 


4.50 


39 


10.10 


Reading Skills Assessed 


Yes 


105 


85.40 


137 


90.10 


109 


98.20 


351 


90.90 


No 


6 


4.90 


7 


4.60 


0 


0.00 


13 


3.40 


Don’t Know 


12 


9.80 


8 


5.30 


2 


1.80 


22 


5.70 




ESL Student Population 


Total 


Schools with 1-5 
ESL Students 


Schools with 6-25 
ESL Students 


Schools with 26 
or more ESL 
Students 


Total Schools 




N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Writing Skills Assessed 


Yes 


101 


80.80 


135 


88.80 


107 


96.40 


343 


88.40 


No 


10 


8.00 


9 


5.90 


2 


1.80 


21 


5.40 


Don’t Know 


14 


11.20 


8 


5.30 


2 


1.80 


24 


6.20 



When asked about which benchmarks schools used to assess student language skills the 
Calgary Board of Education (CBE) was the most commonly reported benchmark, followed 
by benchmarks associated with the three other large school jurisdictions in Alberta (Calgary 
Separate School District, Edmonton Public Schools, and Edmonton Catholic Schools). A full 
description can be found in the Technical Report (Tables T17D-A, T17E-A, T17F-A, & 
T17G-A). 

Summary 

Variability exists in the number and type of assessment instruments used by case study 
schools both for intake and for continuous assessment purposes. Across case study sites, 
assessment of ESL students by classroom teachers is common and assessment tools are 
often teacher-made and their results are used to supplement placement recommendations 
made by the Reception Centres. Nevertheless, schools were grateful to have the services of 
the Reception Centres given the time required to conduct intake assessments. However, 
schools regarded ongoing assessment of the student in the classroom/school (authentic 
assessment) as critical. While district-developed rubrics have been developed in two large 
jurisdictions, they were reported to be in early stages of implementation for intake and 
continuous assessment purposes. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Stakeholders/experts expressed general dissatisfaction with existing assessment tools and 
called for Alberta-normed tools to be developed. The need for consistency in intake 
assessment was emphasized to facilitate common placement practices. 

Case study sites reflect much of what is recommended in the literature: assessment of 
proficiency in oral and written English, and to a lesser extent conversational, and vocabulary 
recall. Ongoing assessment in the classroom is commonly undertaken to provide a broad- 
based picture of an ESL student’s proficiency in English. 



A3. INFORMATION TRACKING 
Literature: Information Tracking 

Research indicated that it is important to track information reflective of the predictors of 
academic achievement of ESL students, namely: 

Most important factors: 

■ Proficiency in LI (first language) 

■ Proficiency in L2 (second language) 

■ Past performance in L2 

■ Amount of formal schooling prior to ESL instruction 
Also important factors: 

■ Amount of ESL instruction time (since literature indicates that 2 years are required 
for interpersonal communication skills and 5 to 7 years to develop academic 
proficiency) 

■ Parental involvement 

■ Age at time of arrival 

■ Length of residence in Canada 

■ Individual differences (motivation, attitude) 

■ Socio-economic status 

Also relevant factors: 

■ Teacher credentials 

■ Resource investment 

Other information that should be tracked includes: 

■ Length of time in type of program (e.g., sheltered, pull-out, adjunct, integrated) 

■ Type of instructional model 

Stakeholders/Experts: Information Tracking 

Essential information about ESL students that is required to assess progress over time and 
to attempt correlation of the type of intervention (program delivery) with student achievement 
includes: 

■ Reason for entering Canada (e.g., refugee) 

■ Time in Canada 

■ LI proficiency at entry 
* L2 proficiency at entry 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



■ LI proficiency of parents at entry 

■ L2 proficiency of parents at entry 

■ Type of program delivery model student has been involved in 

Case Studies: Information Tracking 

Case study schools indicated that they have most of the information identified above, albeit 
in varying formats and comprehensiveness. The type of program delivery varies across 
jurisdictions. School-based research on linking either readiness or performance at entry or 
type of intervention with student achievement was reported to some extent at two sites (one 
large high school, one small elementary). 

School Survey: Information Tracking 

Respondent schools were asked about the type of data they collect on ESL students and 
how the data is stored. In general, the greater the number of ESL students in a school, the 
more likely the school was to report collecting ESL student information. The most common 
data elements collected were: 



Table 13. Proportion of Schools That Track ESL Information 



Data Elements Collected on ESL Students 


Percent of Schools 


First language spoken in student’s home 


84% 


Educational experiences of students prior to entry into Alberta schools 


71% 


Date of arrival in Canada 


70% 


English language proficiency on entry (L2) 


67% 


First language proficiency (LI) 


43% 



Further detail is provided in the following tables and amplified across grade levels in the 
Technical Report located in the ESL Study Appendices. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 14. Information Tracking 



School Collects First Language Spoken at Home Data 


Across Grade Levels 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools 
with 26 or 
more ESL 
Students 


Total 

Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Electronic and Paper 


28 


18.7 


32 


19.3 


40 


34.8 


100 


23.2 


Electronic Only 


39 


26.0 


53 


31.9 


38 


33.0 


130 


30.2 


Paper Only 


53 


35.3 


52 


31.3 


27 


23.5 


132 


30.6 


Do Not Collect 


30 


20.0 


29 


17.5 


10 


8.7 


69 


16.0 


School Collects First Language Proficiency Level Data 


Electronic and Paper 


4 


2.7 


17 


10.2 


26 


22.6 


47 


10.9 


Electronic Only 


15 


10.0 


14 


8.4 


22 


19.1 


51 


11.8 


Paper Only 


20 


13.3 


37 


22.3 


29 


25.2 


86 


20.0 


Do Not Collect 


111 


74.0 


98 


59.0 


38 


33.0 


247 


57.3 


School Collects Date Of Arrival In Canada Data 


Electronic and Paper 


15 


10.0 


25 


15.1 


27 


23.5 


67 


15.5 


Electronic Only 


21 


14.0 


27 


16.3 


22 


19.1 


70 


16.2 


Paper Only 


50 


33.3 


69 


41.6 


47 


40.9 


166 


38.5 


Do Not Collect 


64 


42.7 


45 


27.1 


19 


16.5 


128 


29.7 


School Collects Entry English Language Proficiency Data 


Electronic and Paper 


8 


5.3 


20 


12.0 


33 


28.7 


61 


14.2 


Electronic Only 


15 


10.0 


21 


12.7 


23 


20.0 


59 


13.7 


Paper Only 


58 


38.7 


69 


41.6 


41 


35.7 


168 


39.0 


Do Not Collect 


69 


46.0 


56 


33.7 


18 


15.7 


143 


33.2 


School Collects Prior Educational Experiences Data 


Electronic and Paper 


16 


10.7 


12 


7.2 




17.4 


48 


11.1 


Electronic Only 


13 


8.7 


13 


7.8 




8.7 


36 


8.4 


Paper Only 


72 


48.0 


89 


53.6 


64 


55.7 


225 


52.2 


Do Not Collect 


49 


32.7 


52 


31.3 


21 


18.3 


122 


28.3 



Summary 

Stakeholders/experts emphasized the significant influence of proficiency in LI on ability to 
learn English. Case study information indicated less understanding of the significance of this 
link. No case study sites reported formal assessment in LI, and little capacity to conduct 
such assessment. Most other information identified in the literature as important to track was 
tracked by case study schools, although the extent and consistency with which it was 
tracked is unknown. In schools where there were smaller numbers of ESL students, 
information that the literature indicated as important to track long-term performance of 
students seemed more readily available than in schools where there were large numbers of 
ESL students. In smaller schools and communities the principal and teachers knew the 
family. In schools where there were large numbers of ESL students, liaisons workers helped 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



to provide information to the school about the background of the family. The liaison became 
an important link between the family and the school. 

A4. LEADERSHIP PROCESSES 

Literature: Leadership Processes 

Best practices identified in the literature as ensuring a positive and supportive environment 
for ESL students include school leadership that: 

a) Develops an orientation process for ESL newcomer students and their families 

b) Promotes and facilitates ESL family involvement in school activities 

c) Supports cultural diversity 

d) Promotes interaction and involvement with community-based services 

e) Ensures an environment for first language support 

f) Provides access to a range of ESL supports including diagnostics 

In addition, the literature identifies that staff require professional development and follow-up 
assistance and collaborative work opportunities to deliver effective ESL programming. 

Stakeholders/Experts: Leadership Processes 

Leadership is important at three levels: the school, the jurisdiction and the Ministry. At the 
school level, characteristics of leadership demonstrated by teachers and administrators are 
reflected in a variety of ways including: 

a) The ESL student’s first language and culture are valued 

b) Teachers and administrators demonstrate knowledge of second language acquisition 
and instruction 

c) Teachers and administrators model appropriate teaching strategies (e.g., 
differentiated instruction) 

d) Teachers and administrators advocate for ESL students 

e) Administrators support professional development opportunities and help to build 
research capacity among teachers 

f) Teachers and administrators support innovation and change 

g) Teachers and administrators build proactive relationships with immigrant 
communities 

h) Teachers and administrators encourage parent involvement and empower parents to 
be advocates for their children 

At the jurisdiction level, board membership should reflect the cultural diversity of the school 
communities they represent. 

At the Ministerial level, leadership should reflect standard-setting processes to facilitate 
consistent assessment across jurisdictions. Also, the Ministry should provide additional 
funding support for smaller jurisdictions to enable teachers to access specialist support 
available in larger jurisdictions. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Case Studies: Leadership Processes 

Case study schools indicated that leadership for ESL resides mainly at the school level with 
teachers first and supportive administrators second. ESL students themselves can be 
leaders. The district can also demonstrate support for ESL students. 

The large urban high school visited (ESL designated high school) with sheltered ESL 
classes suggested that good leadership involves specific teaching strategies including 
mentoring and training in ESL for teachers, active listening and learning from students, and 
providing students with basic language instruction before moving them into other schools 
(i.e. , non-designated ESL schools) in the system. 

School Survey: Leadership Processes 

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of schools reported using a comprehensive curriculum plan for 
ESL instruction. A plan is more likely to be in place when the ESL population in the school is 
larger (26 or more students) (see Table 15). 



Table 15. Schools with a Comprehensive ESL Curriculum Plan 



School Uses a Comprehensive Curriculum Plan for ESL Instruction 



Grade Level 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


No 




mm 


48 


29.6 


26 


23.2 


130 


31.6 


Partial 




■a 


79 


48.8 


49 


43.8 


193 


47.0 


Yes 






35 


21.6 


37 


33.0 


88 


21.4 



Respondents were asked about several aspects of leadership and planning processes that 
support optimal achievement of ESL students: 

■ plan or strategy to address cultural diversity and competency through professional 
development; 

■ plan or strategy to meaningfully involve parents of ESL students in supporting 
student learning; 

■ involvement of family members with limited English skills in volunteer activities at the 
school; 

■ communication plan for families of ESL students; 

■ promotion of partnerships between the school and families and communities of ESL 
students; 

■ leadership to promote family-school-community partnerships; 

■ administrative support to promote and facilitate collaboration between the school and 
culturally diverse families and communities; and 

■ partnerships with ethno-cultural groups and immigrant serving agencies that provide 
interpretation and translation to families with limited English skills. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Survey results indicate that the larger the ESL student population in a school, the more likely 
the school is to report having leadership, strategies, and programs to facilitate community- 
family-school partnerships (See Tables 16 to 21). Full descriptive tables can be found in the 
Technical Report located in the ESL Study Appendices (Table P17A to 17N). 



Table 16. Professional Development 

Plan or Strategy to Address Cultural Diversity and Competency Through Professional 



Development 



Across Grade Levels 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


No 


73 


52.9 


51 


31.5 


18 


16.1 


142 


34.5 


Partial 


52 


37.7 


80 


49.4 


59 


52.7 


191 


46.4 


Yes 


13 


9.4 


31 


19.1 


35 


31.3 


79 


19.2 



Table 17. Parent Involvement 



The School Has a Plan or Strategy to Meaningfully Involve Parents Of ESL Students in 
Supporting Student Learning 



Across Grade Levels 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


No 


44 


31.9 


45 


27.6 


23 


20.4 


112 


27.1 


Partial 


55 


39.9 


78 


47.9 


46 


40.7 


179 


43.2 


Yes 


39 


28.3 


40 


24.5 


44 


38.9 


123 


29.7 



Table 18. Communication Plan 



The School Has a Communication Plan for Families of ESL Students 



Across Grade Levels 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


No 


47 


34.1 


42 


25.8 


18 


15.9 


107 


25.8 


Partial 


45 


32.6 


61 


37.4 


36 


31.9 


142 


34.3 


Yes 


46 


33.3 


60 


36.8 


59 


52.2 


165 


39.9 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 19. Community Partnerships 



The School Establishes Leadership to Promote Family-School-Community Partnerships 



Across Grade Levels 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


No 




32.6 


58 


35.6 


29 


25.9 


131 


32.0 


Partial 




37.0 


63 


38.7 


34 


30.4 


147 


35.9 


Yes 




30.4 


42 


25.8 


49 


43.8 


132 


32.2 



Table 20. Administrative Support 



The School Has Necessary Administrative Support to Promote and Facilitate Collaboration 
Between the School and Culturally Diverse Families and Communities 



Across Grade Levels 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


No 


49 


36.0 


49 


30.8 


20 


17.9 


118 


mu 


Partial 


52 


38.2 


67 


42.1 


51 


45.5 


170 


41.8 


Yes 


35 


25.7 


43 


27.0 


41 


36.6 


119 


29.2 



Table 21. Ethno-cultural Supports and Partnerships 



The School Has Partnerships With Ethno-Cultural Groups and Immigrant Serving Agencies 
That Provide Interpretation and Translation to Families With Limited English Skills 



Across Grade Levels 


ESL Student Population 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


No 


86 


63.2 


72 


45.6 


19 


16.8 


177 


43.5 


Partial 


34 


25.0 


47 


29.7 


33 


29.2 


114 


28.0 


Yes 


16 


11.8 


39 


24.7 


61 


54.0 


116 


28.5 



Summary 

Considerable congruence is apparent among the perspectives of stakeholders/experts, case 
study schools and the literature. The literature goes one step beyond respect and value for 
ESL students’ first language and culture (which stakeholders/experts and case study 
schools indicated as important) to ensuring an environment for first language support. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Case study schools and stakeholders/experts emphasized that instructional leadership 
(knowledge of second language acquisition and instruction) is key and that strategies that 
support teachers in their efforts to improve instructional capacity demonstrate good 
leadership practice. Leadership also involves building relationships with parents and 
empowering them to be effective advocates for their children. 



A5. INSTRUCTIONAL PROCESSES/MODELS 
Literature: Instructional Processes/Models 

Research indicates that schools may adopt more than one type of delivery model to 
accommodate different students at different stages of language development. ESL 
programs serve students in three general stages of development: reception (newcomer), 
transition, and integration. These graduated stages categorize students according to their 
different needs for instructional support based on their proficiency in English. 

Research indicates that newcomer programs (several weeks to several months duration) 
that focus more on instruction in the mechanics of English than on subject matter content 
are most appropriate for students with little or no English, for students who are older than 
their grade level peers, for students who are at risk of dropping out of school, and for 
students who require extra support. Proponents of the newcomer program model suggest 
that well-implemented newcomer programs should focus on English language attainment 
and integration of recently immigrated or refugee students into mainstream schools and 
society. However, no evidence was found comparing the effect of newcomer models with 
other types of models. 

Transitional models include sheltered programs, pull-out programs, adjunct programs and 
inclusive programs and are commonly viewed as a staged approach from sheltered to 
inclusive/integrated programs. Research indicates that ESL teachers or aides typically 
deliver transition programs with varying involvement of mainstream teachers as emphasis 
shifts from second language development to instruction that is more content-based. 

Sheltered programs with small classes better accommodate the heterogeneity of the 
students’ backgrounds and alleviate the isolation and frustration that newcomers can 
experience. Although timetabling is difficult, sheltered programs allow students to interact 
with their peers to a greater degree than they can in a fully-integrated program. Supporters 
of sheltered programs argue that sheltered programs specifically directed to ESL students 
better mobilize resources and address learner needs. Supporters of inclusive programs 
argue that immediate access to the mainstream classroom setting is critical for learning L2. 

Pull-out classes are thought to better accommodate beginner and low-intermediate ESL 
students, especially in schools where there are few ESL students. The benefit of the pull-out 
approach is that it provides concentrated instruction based on student need. As well, small 
class sizes allow greater instructional support and more opportunities for students to 
practice speaking English than they would be able to in a mainstream class. 

An adjunct program model links language instruction in English courses with content 
courses in order to allow ESL students to learn academic content while learning appropriate 
language and study skills. The content area is taught by a teacher with expertise in subject 
areas, while the adjunct course focuses on linking content with English language instruction. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



This combination of linked class content requires interdisciplinary collaboration between 
mainstream and ESL teachers. Adjunct programming has been found to be successful in a 
variety of settings. 

In an inclusive program (also called in-class instructional model), students learn curriculum 
content while they learn English. ESL teachers or teacher aides work with ESL students in 
the regular classroom setting, but it is the classroom teachers who do the modification of 
class work for the ESL students. Collaboration among ESL and mainstream teachers is 
essential to ensure clarity and coordination of teaching, assessment and record keeping 
roles. This type of program is recommended in elementary classrooms to allow ESL 
students to participate in all regular classroom activities and in secondary classrooms to 
allow ESL students to take a wider variety of courses than they would if they were pulled out 
of regular programming. 

Integrated programs (also referred to as mainstream programs) place ESL students into 
mainstream content-based classes. Depending on availability, students enrolled in 
integrated programs may also receive ESL support outside the classroom but they do not 
receive specialized ESL support in the classroom apart from what a mainstream teacher can 
provide. Evidence indicates that early and full integration in mainstream classes can be 
detrimental to ESL student achievement. Evidence also suggests that accelerated 
integration into academic mainstream may lead intermediate level ESL students to drop out 
of high school sooner than those in sheltered programs. Effective integrated classes make 
educational opportunities available to all students, function effectively through student 
involvement and cooperative learning, and consider the language needs of all the students. 

Because of the variability in transitional programs it is difficult to draw conclusions about 
which models are more effective than others. However, there is some evidence to suggest 
that transitional programs are more effective than fully-integrated programs for students with 
beginner to intermediate proficiency in English, and when these programs are sustained 
over a longer period of time (5 years or more). It is generally accepted that integrated 
programming is best for students whose English proficiency, concept development, and 
cultural awareness is at a more advanced level. 

Regardless of the type of model, after-school support for ESL students is recommended. 

Stakeholders/Experts: Instructional Processes/Models 

Stakeholders/experts considered culturally competent teachers who are qualified in second 
language instruction as key to successful academic achievement of ESL students. 

Instruction in the student’s heritage language as well as English would be ideal. Instruction 
in the mechanics of English within specific content areas was also considered a best 
practice. 

Stakeholder/experts’ views differed on the merits of various models of instruction. Fully 
integrated and pull-out models were both recognized as valuable and important, but 
perspectives on the timing and duration of pull-out varied. Some stakeholders/experts 
supported pull-out for several months to two years. Others suggested that integration into 
mainstream classes should be the norm with pull-out strategies used only when required. 

Flexible models and teaching approaches matched to students’ learning styles, as well as 
teacher assistants, resource teachers and liaisons were regarded as very helpful to 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



supplement classroom instruction and create links between ESL students and their 
communities. Adjunct classes were seen as particularly helpful in helping ESL students stay 
current in content areas. 

Differentiated instruction, small group and individualized instruction were also mentioned as 
best practice instructional strategies. However, skepticism and uncertainty were expressed 
with respect to the breadth and depth of differentiated instruction currently occurring in 
Alberta classrooms. 

Support to parents was recognized as a best practice-support in the form of orientation to 
Alberta’s school system, explanation of school programs and student placement, and 
translation support (e.g., at parent teacher interviews). Support can be provided by 
multicultural liaisons who should be familiar with the family’s cultural heritage. 

Finally, support to teachers, typically in the form of professional development, was identified 
as a best practice to improve achievement of ESL students overall. 



Case Studies: Instructional Processes/Models 

As the following table indicates, size seemed to be a determining factor in the model of 
instruction chosen for ESL students at the case study schools. For example, where the 
school had sufficient numbers of ESL students, sheltered and/or segregated classrooms 
were the norm. Pull-out support and modified curriculum with the goal of fully integrating 
ESL students into mainstream classes was common across schools except in the Kanadier 
program (a fully segregated program for Mennonite students which focuses on math and 
English and offers bible study as well). The segregated model seems highly successful with 
this cultural group. 

Teacher assistants in rural schools, more so than in urban schools, tend to provide support 
to all students as well as ESL students (except in the case of the Kanadier program which 
serves only ESL students). Specialized support (psychological assessment, speech 
pathology, etc.) is generally provided by the jurisdiction. Liaison Workers are generally 
available across sites regardless of the size of the ESL student population. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Note: Detailed descriptives are available in the Case Study Schools Reports located in the ESL Study Appendices. 



Table 22. Models of Instruction and Support in ESL Case Schools 



Level 


Size 


Primary Model 


Supports 


Elementary 


Small 

urban 


Full integration with pull-out small group instruction (ESL 
level 1 & 2, some 3 & 4 by ESL assistant) 

Whole class & small group instruction 
Modified curriculum 
Classroom teachers 


ESL assistant 
Peer tutoring 

Some cross-grade pairing 
Interpreters 

Child care (before/after school on site) 

Grandparent reading program 

District generalist support & psychologists 




Mid-size 

rural 


Segregated (Kanadier program) & full integration with 
minimal pull-out 

Whole class & small group instruction 
Modified curriculum 

ESL (Kanadier) designated classroom teachers 


Classroom support teachers 
Division ESL Coordinator 
Division Liaison Worker 




Mid-size 

rural 

(Aboriginal) 


Full integration with pull-out support by Special Education 
teacher 

Whole class instruction & small-group instruction 
Modified curriculum 
Classroom teachers 


Teacher assistants 

Special needs teachers/assistants 

Speech language pathologist 

Speech assistant 

EOP person 

ELI person 

District Pedagogical Supervisor 








-teacher assistants (TAs) 

-special education teachers 
-special needs assistants (SAS) 
-speech/language pathologist 
-speech assistant 

-Educational Opportunity Project (EOP) person 
-Early Literacy Initiative (ELI) person 
-district pedagogical supervisors 
-cooperative planning 




Mid-size 

rural 


Full integration with pull-out support 
Whole class & small group instruction 
Modified curriculum 
Classroom teachers 


Liaison Worker 
Resource Room teacher 
District psychologist 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Level 


Size 


Primary Model 


Supports 










Junior High 


Large 

urban 


Sheltered classroom Level 1 

Partial integration: ESL Option Level 2/3/4 with ESL 

Designated teacher and shared ESL assistant 

Full integration: (Level 3/4/5) with pull-out support 

Modified curriculum in segregated classrooms 

Differentiated program in mainstream classrooms 

Benchmarks used 

ESL Designated teacher 


ESL assistant teachers 
Resource teachers (2) 
Multicultural Liaisons 
District Psychologists 
Speech Pathologist 


Senior 

High 


Small rural 


Full integration 
Classroom teachers 


Teacher assistants 

Special Education Coordinator 

Preventive counselor 

Guidance counselor 

Family Wellness Worker 

District Special Education Director 

Other district schools 




Large 

urban 


Sheltered classroom Level 1 

Full integration with pull-out support for Level 2, 3, 4, 5 

Whole class & small group instruction 

Modified curriculum 

ESL Designated teachers 

Classroom teachers 


Counselor 
Social Worker 
Liaison Workers 
Interpreters 
ESL consultant 
Diagnosticians 
Assessment specialists 
AISI consultant 




Large 

urban 


Dedicated ESL classes for two periods each day (most 
Level 3, 4; some Level 1, 2) 

Some pull-out support 

Modified curriculum (ESL-Oriented curriculum for Science, 
Social, English) 


Counselors 
Student Services 
District Multi-lingual Services 
Assistant Principals 

Titans International (student support group) 



45 





K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Survey Data: Instructional Processes/Models 

Schools were asked which models of ESL instruction they used in their schools. Five models 
were presented to the respondents: 

1 . Full-day self-contained classes with ESL students only 

2. Half-day self-contained classes where students spend either a morning or afternoon 
in ESL classes and the rest of the day in non-ESL classes 

3. Pull-out classes with school based teachers where students are either pulled out of 
regular classes for ESL instruction or given blocks of ESL rather than certain subject 
courses 

4. Pull-out classes with itinerant teachers 

5. In-class ESL support where students receive ESL support in regular classrooms 

Sixty-four percent (64%) of schools reported that they used an in-class ESL support model. 
Use of this model was reported more frequently among schools with small ESL student 
populations than by schools with larger ESL student populations. The second most 
commonly-reported model of ESL instruction was pull-out classes with school-based 
teachers (20%). 

Table 23. Models of ESL Instruction 



Models of ESL Instruction 



Class Type 


ESL Student Population 
Group Total 


Schools with 1- 
5 ESL Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL Students 


Total Schools 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Full Day Self Contained 


164 


11.2 


185 


12.4 


125 


9.4 


491 


11.1 


Half Day Self Contained 


164 


1.0 


185 


0.0 


125 


7.2 


491 


2.3 


Pullout - School Based 


164 


10.0 


185 


22.5 


125 


28.1 


491 


20.0 


Pullout - Itinerant 


164 


5.1 


185 


3.0 


125 


1.1 


491 


3.2 


In class ESL Support - School Based 


164 


74.0 


185 


62.1 


125 


54.0 


491 


63.7 



Twenty-five percent (25%) of schools reported they use tutors as ESL support. Tutoring 
ranged from 14% of schools in the K-3 category to 51% of schools in the 10-12 category. 



Fifty-nine percent (59%) of all schools reported frequently using informal peer mentoring 
support-most prevalent in grades 7 to 9 (66% of schools). 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 24. ESL Tutor Support 



Extent of T utor Support 








ESL Student 


Population 








Schools with 


Schools with 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 


Across Grade Levels 


1-5 ESL 


6-25 ESL 


Schools 




Students 


Students 








N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Never or Almost 
Never or Seldom 


95 


74.2 


110 


70.5 


71 


62.3 


276 


69.3 


Often or Almost 
Always or Always 


26 


20.3 


36 


23.1 


40 


35.1 


102 


25.6 


Don’t Know 


7 


5.5 


10 


6.4 


3 


2.6 


20 


5.0 


Extent of Informal Peer Mentorship Support 


Never or Almost 
Never or Seldom 


48 


37.8 


68 


43.9 


34 


29.6 


150 


37.8 


Often or Almost 
Always or Always 


77 


60.6 


80 


51.6 


80 


69.6 


237 


59.7 


Don’t Know 


2 


1.6 


7 


4.5 


1 


0.9 


10 


2.5 



Summary 

Research from the literature supports transitional programs (sheltered, pull-out, adjunct, 
inclusive) sustained for a period of five or more years, and classes that promote and are 
organized for interaction between ESL students, other students, and teachers. Research 
from the literature also indicates that full integration of ESL students into mainstream 
classes, if done too early, can be detrimental to achievement of ESL students. Further, 
research indicates that pull-out programs (several weeks to several months duration) are 
most beneficial to newcomer students who have little or no English, for ESL students who 
are older than their grade level peers, or who are at risk of dropping out of school. 

Case study data indicate that integration of ESL students into classes with pull-out support 
is the most common model of instruction in current use, although across case study sites 
(with the possible exception of the Kanadier program), the goal was to move toward full 
integration of ESL students into mainstream classrooms. Sheltered classrooms are the norm 
in large schools with large numbers of ESL students as well as in the Kanadier program in a 
smaller elementary school in rural Alberta. 

Therefore, for the most part, current models of instruction at case study sites reflect best 
practice models identified in the literature. Where stakeholders’/experts’ perspectives varied 
was not on the value of pull-out or integrated models, but on the duration of pull-out support 
prior to full integration. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



A6. PRE-SERVICE AND IN-SERVICE REQUIREMENTS 
Literature: Pre-service and In-Service Requirements 

Teacher knowledge of cultural backgrounds of second language learners and specialized 
knowledge of approaches to language acquisition are major influencing factors on 
achievement of ESL students. 

Research indicates that teachers require explicit instruction in how to respond to the needs 
of ESL students. They also require professional development and follow-up support to 
encourage understanding of cultural diversity. 



Stakeholders/Experts: Pre-service and In-Service Requirements 

In stakeholders’/experts’ views, training in cultural competence is key for both pre- and in- 
service programs for teachers. A prescribed set of courses that leads to certification in ESL 
instruction is preferred to isolated professional development activities. One of the barriers to 
increasing pre-service teachers’ exposure to ESL training is revising current teacher training 
requirements to include more than one optional course in ESL. 



Case Studies: Pre-service and In-Service Requirements 

Case study participants identified that pre-service teachers should have training in: 



1. Language acquisition 

2. Cultural competence 

3. Assessment 

4. Differentiated instruction 

5. Special needs 



In-service teachers should have: 



1 . Professional development opportunities 

2. Teacher-to-teacher mentoring at the school level 

3. Supportive administrators 

4. Peer support 

5. Appropriate and sufficient resources 

6. Support of district consultants 



Survey Data: Pre-service and In-service Requirements 

Pre-service and In-service Training 

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of all schools reported having any ESL designated or 
mainstream ESL teachers. Forty-four percent (44%) of schools reported having a 
designated ESL teacher. However, designated ESL support for students tends to be higher 
in grade 10 to 12. Most schools (61%) reported having ESL support staff. 



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Table 25. Designated/Mainstream Support for ESL Students 





ESL Student Population 


Group Total 




Schools with 


Schools with 


Schools with 


Total Schools 


Across Grade Level 


1-5 ESL 


6-25 ESL 


26 or more 




Students 


Students 


ESL Students 








N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Any designated ESL teachers 


164 


24 


185 


42 


125 


71 


474 


44 


Any ESL mainstream teachers 


164 


70 


185 


71 


125 


73 


474 


71 


Any ESL designated and/or 
mainstream teachers 


164 


81 


185 


88 


125 


93 


474 


67 


Any ESL support staff 


164 


49 


185 


64 


125 


73 


474 


61 



The extent to which Alberta schools have trained ESL staff varies across schools and grade 
levels. However, on average 63% of schools reported that staff designated to instruct ESL 
students had some ESL training. Twenty-seven (27%) of ESL designated teachers had no 
ESL training. Only 14% of schools reported that ESL designated teachers had an ESL 
diploma or certificate, ora degree in ESL (see Table P7D). Again, trained staff was more 
prevalent in grade 10 to 12. 



Table 26. ESL Training for Designated ESL Teachers 







ESL Student Population 




Group Total 


Across Grade Level 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total Schools 




N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Percentage of ESL designated 
teachers with no ESL training 
Percentage of ESL designated 


164 


45 


185 


30 


125 


16 


474 


27 


teachers with some ESL 
training 

Percentage of ESL designated 


164 


52 


185 


64 


125 


67 


474 


63 


teachers with ESL Diploma or 
Certificate 


164 


0 


185 


5 


125 


12 


474 


7 


Percentage of ESL designated 
teachers with degree in ESL 


164 


0 


185 


5 


125 


12 


474 


7 



Mainstream teachers that teach ESL students tend not to have ESL training. Sixty-four 
percent (64%) of ESL mainstream teachers had no ESL training. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 27. ESL Training for Mainstream ESL Teachers 





ESL Student Population 


Group Total 




Schools with 


Schools with 


Schools with 


Total 


Across Grade Level 


1-5 ESL 


6-25 ESL 


26 or more 


Schools 




Students 


Students 


ESL Students 








N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Percentage of ESL mainstream 
teachers with no ESL training 
Percentage of ESL mainstream 
teachers with some ESL 


164 

164 


71 

27 


185 

185 


67 

31 


125 

125 


49 

48 


474 

474 


64 

35 


training 

Percentage of ESL mainstream 
teachers with ESL Diploma or 
Certificate 


164 


1 


185 


1 


125 


2 


474 


1 


Percentage of ESL mainstream 
teachers with degree in ESL 


164 


1 


185 


1 


125 


2 


474 


1 



Cultural Sensitivity 

Respondents were asked several questions related to the climate of cultural competence in 
their schools. Sixty-two percent (62%) of schools reported that they had frequent 
discussions to address and promote cultural competence. Discussions of cultural 
competence were more prevalent at the high school level and where more ESL students 
were enrolled. 



Table 28. Cultural Competence Discussion 



Extent to Which There are Discussions to Address and Promote Cultural Competence 









ESL Student Population 






Across Grade Levels 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 




N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Never or Almost Never or 
Seldom 


42 


32.8 


56 


35.2 


28 


24.6 


126 


31.4 


Often or Almost Always or 
Always 


76 


59.4 


96 


60.4 


79 


69.3 


251 


62.6 


Don’t Know 


10 


7.8 


7 


4.4 


7 


6.1 


24 


6.0 



Seventy-four percent (74%) of schools reported they had leadership that demonstrated its 
commitment to cultural competence. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 29. Cultural Competence and School Leadership 



Extent to Which School Leadership Demonstrates its Commitment to Cultural Competence 









ESL Student Population 






Across Grade Levels 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 




N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Never or Almost Never or 
Seldom 


21 


16.4 


37 


23.6 


16 


13.9 


74 


18.5 


Often or Almost Always or 
Always 


94 


73.4 


111 


70.7 


91 


79.1 


296 


74.0 


Don’t Know 


13 


10.2 


9 


5.7 


8 


7.0 


30 


7.5 



Twenty-two percent (22%) of schools reported frequently involving culturally diverse parents 
to promote cultural competency. 

Table 30. Involving Parents in Cultural Competence 



Extent to Which Culturally Diverse Parents are Involved in Promoting Cultural Competence 









ESL Student Population 






Across Grade Levels 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total 

Schools 




N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Never or Almost Never or Seldom 


73 


57.5 


111 


70.7 


77 


66.4 


261 


65.3 


Often or Almost Always or 
Always 


38 


29.9 


25 


15.9 


28 


24.1 


91 


22.8 


Don’t Know 


16 


12.6 


21 


13.4 


11 


9.5 


48 


12.0 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 31. Cultural Competence Resourcing 



Extent to Which The School Personnel Choose Classroom and Library Materials That Reflect 

Culturally Diverse Groups 








ESL Student Population 






Cross Grade Levels 


Schools with 
1-5 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
6-25 ESL 
Students 


Schools with 
26 or more 
ESL 

Students 


Total Schools 




N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


N 


% 


Never or Almost Never or 
Seldom 


23 


17.7% 


32 


20.4% 


8 


7.0% 


63 


15.7% 


Often or Almost Always or 
Always 


98 


75.4% 


118 


75.2% 


99 


86.1% 


315 


78.4% 


Don’t Know 


9 


6.9% 


7 


4.5% 


8 


7.0% 


24 


6.0% 


Extent to Which Adequate Resources are Allocated to Address and Promote Cultural Competence 


Never or Almost Never or 
Seldom 


57 


44.5% 


72 


45.9% 


39 


34.2% 


168 


42.1% 


Often or Almost Always or 
Always 


53 


41.4% 


74 


47.1% 


62 


54.4% 


189 


47.4% 


Don’t Know 


18 


14.1% 


11 


7.0% 


13 


1 1 .4% 


42 


10.5% 



Seventy-eight (78%) of schools reported that school personnel chose classroom and library 
materials that reflect culturally diverse groups. However, 53% of schools reported that they 
rarely had adequate resources to address and promote cultural competency (see Table 31). 

Summary 

There is considerable congruence between research from the literature, perspectives of 
stakeholders/experts and people teaching ESL students. Stakeholders/experts and case 
study participants uniformly recognize that to support achievement of ESL students teachers 
need training in language acquisition, cultural competence, differentiated instruction and 
assessment. Further, the literature indicates that understanding of cultural diversity does not 
occur without professional development and follow-up support. Case study sites 
emphasized the importance of peer and administrator support including sufficient and 
appropriate resources. 



A7. REASONS FOR EARLY LEAVING 
Literature: Reasons for Early Leaving 

ESL students demonstrate drop-out rates that far exceed non-ESL students. Therefore, 
ensuring support of academic success of ESL students is critical. 

Stakeholders/Experts: Reasons for Early Leaving 

Stakeholders/experts identified seven main reasons for early leaving including: 
a) Insufficient time to complete high school courses 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



b) Frustration at the disparity between achievement with age peers 

c) Stigmatization at not being able to keep up with the demands of the curriculum 

d) Racial discrimination 

e) Unmet psycho-social needs 

f) Family responsibilities 

It should be noted that stakeholders/experts emphasized negative implications of ignoring 
the circumstances that cause early leaving--that is, serious social consequences of early 
leavers and under-employed ESL students who enter the workforce. 

Case Studies: Reasons for Early Leaving 

Early leaving was mentioned as a problem at the senior high level in urban schools but not 
in the rural high school visited. Reasons for early leaving shared by case study participants 
included: 

a) Lack of time to complete high school 

b) Frustration at lagging behind age peers 

c) Low self-esteem because of failure and/or inability to keep pace 

d) Family responsibilities at home and lack of support from home to complete high 
school 

e) Lack of motivation on the part of the student 

It should be noted that teen pregnancy and substance abuse were mentioned as reasons for 
early leaving by the northern Alberta case study school which was comprised of 
predominantly Aboriginal students. School staff interviewed indicated that some of these 
students reflect a myriad of social problems which keep them from attending school on a 
regular basis and from completing high school. 

Summary 

There is considerable congruence among the views of case study participants and 
stakeholders/experts. Early leaving can be attributed primarily to lack of time to complete 
high school, frustration and low self-esteem, and family responsibilities. Racial 
discrimination, while mentioned by stakeholders/experts was not identified at the case study 
sites. There, motivation of the ESL students themselves was identified — possibly as a 
consequence of frustration and low self-esteem, but also possibly due to cultural norms 
influencing the value newcomer students place on education. 

(No survey questions addressed early leaving.) 



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B. PREDICTORS OF ESL STUDENT OUTCOMES 



The literature, stakeholder/expert opinion, and case studies in Alberta Schools were used to 
identify what predictor variables might be expected to be associated with ESL student 
success. To test some of these assumptions, system data and data collected through a 
province-wide survey were used to identify independent or predictor variables that were 
most associated with ESL student success on Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) (e.g., 
teaching methods, teaching skill prerequisites, age/grade of entry into Alberta classrooms, 
language proficiency on entry, educational experiences prior to entry into Alberta schools, 
first language proficiency, mentoring supports). 



B1. LITERATURE: PREDICTORS OF ESL STUDENT SUCCESS 

The literature suggests that the following are predictors of ESL student success: 

■ Years of previous schooling in first language 

■ Proficiency in first language (LI ) 

■ English proficiency at entry 

■ Hours of instruction 

■ Past academic achievement 

■ Parent involvement 

■ Resources and funding 

■ ESL student attitude and motivation 

■ Length of residence 

■ Socioeconomic status 

■ Training and experience of ESL teachers 

Years of Previous Schooling in First Language (LI) 

Years of previous schooling in LI is found to be the most predictive variable of academic 
success among ESL students regardless of LI language, country of origin, socioeconomic 
status and other demographic variables. In a nation-wide longitudinal study conducted in the 
USA, it was found that the amount of formal schooling in LI was the strongest predictor of 
success in L2. Similar findings have been reported in British Columbia. It has been reported 
that in USA schools where all instruction is provided in English only, ESL learners with no 
previous schooling in their first language take 7 to 10 years or more to reach age and grade 
level norms of their English speaking peers. Those with 2 to 3 years of previous schooling 
take 5 to 7 years to catch up to their English-speaking peers. 

Proficiency in First Language (LI) 

Literature indicates that ESL students under-achieve compared to their non-ESL 
counterparts. With respect to proficiency in first language (LI) comprehensive meta-analytic 
review of the literature indicates that proficiency in first language is a strong predictor of 
academic success in L2 and in L2 language acquisition. It is thought that academic skills, 
literacy development, concept formation, subject knowledge, and learning strategies 
developed in the first language all transfer to the second language. There is a growing body 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



of evidence supporting cross-language transfer of phonological awareness, reading errors 
and fluency, reading comprehension, letter and word knowledge, print concepts, and 
sentence memory. It has also been suggested that the acquisition of the first language is 
associated with ethnic self-identification which, in turn, may contribute to academic success. 

English Proficiency at Entry 

A student’s English proficiency at point of entry is a strong predictor of high school drop-out 
rates. Research also indicates that those with limited proficiency in English are at a greater 
risk of dropping out than mainstream students who are in turn at greater risk of dropping out 
than fully bilingual students. Research describes the successful high-school ESL student as 
having a good educational background and having studied English prior to arrival in high 
school. 

Hours of Instruction 

Research indicates that for an English-speaking student to gain proficiency in a second 
language 1.5 to 4.5 hours of instruction per week are required. An approximate doubling of 
these amounts would be required to achieve advanced levels of proficiency. The variability 
in recommended instruction time is related to linguistic distance, that is, the difference 
between LI and L2 in terms of alphabet, form, syntax and grammatical structure. It has 
been estimated that students with limited English language proficiency need two years of 
ESL education to develop interpersonal communication skills and five to seven years to 
develop academic language proficiency. 

Past Academic Achievement 

Research indicates that past academic achievement in L2 is the single most important factor 
in predicting current scholastic performance in L2. 

Parent Involvement 

Parental involvement has been found to be an important predictor of educational 
achievement in the general population. Programs designed to involve immigrant parents in 
their children’s school activities and educational programs are very important to support their 
academic achievement. 

Resources and Funding 

Though literature directly linking ESL resource and funding distribution to academic success 
was not identified, some inferences can be drawn. An Alberta-based study indicated that 
while provincial funding cuts did not significantly affect high school drop-out rates, they did 
appear to have an impact on drop-out trajectories for intermediate ESL students (e.g., they 
dropped out of the system earlier after the funding cuts than they had before the cuts). 

ESL Student Attitude and Motivation 

The literature indicates that individual difference variables such as attitude and motivation 
are important in the acquisition of second language proficiency. Attitudes about a particular 
language and self-confidence are important precursors to motivation to learn and that this 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



motivation is, in turn, an important predictor of success. Experiencing success is found to 
further influence feelings of self-confidence. 

Length of Residence 

Research indicates that length of residence rather than age at arrival is a more important 
variable to consider because the age effects assume an underlying developmental model 
that is extremely difficult to substantiate in applied settings, whereas length of residence is 
based on an exposure model that is more readily testable. In applying stringent statistical 
controls, it is found that length of residence is predictive of the acquisition of a second 
language but is likely moderated by the amount of exposure to the second language. 

Socioeconomic Status 

Socioeconomic status is found to be predictive of the rate of acquisition of the English 
language by ESL students. 

Training and Experience of ESL Teachers 

Research suggests that teachers of ESL students need to have training and experience in 
language acquisition and that they should have fluency in a second language as well. 
Research also indicates that best practice for ESL instruction includes teachers who have 
knowledge of the cultural backgrounds of second language learners. A recent meta-analysis 
of effective ESL programming identified teacher experience and expertise as a major factor. 



B2. STAKEHOLDERS/EXPERTS: PREDICTORS OF ESL STUDENT SUCCESS 
Years of Previous Schooling in First Language (LI) 

Stakeholders/experts highlighted several key predictors of success-proficiency in the 
student’s first language being the primary predictor. Understanding of advanced concepts is 
facilitated by having a foundational structure in LI to which concepts and words in the 
second language can be linked. For students with limited prior educational experience, 
foundational linguistic and conceptual structures may be absent or limited making learning a 
new language difficult. Therefore, extent of formal schooling is a significant predictor. Level 
of maintenance of LI was also identified as a predictor of academic success. 

Socioeconomic Status 

Socio-emotional experiences of students (and their families) as well as family involvement in 
the student’s school life, influence ESL students’ readiness to learn as well as their 
academic achievement. The reason the student came to Canada is relevant (i.e., refugee, 
immigrant, family reunification) as is the level of parental education and knowledge of the 
school system. The level to which students feel that their heritage culture is respected (that 
is, supportive attitudes and school environment) is another influence. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Cultural Competence of Teachers 

Culturally competent teachers qualified in second language instruction were identified as the 
most important resource to support academic achievement of ESL students. Sufficient 
numbers of staff trained in ESL instruction, professional development opportunities for staff 
and paraprofessionals, administrative support, and appropriate and sufficient resources, 
were all identified as interplaying to influence academic achievement of ESL students. The 
level of information sharing of best practice research and professional development 
opportunities for teachers of ESL students, in-services and workshops that expand the skill 
sets of teachers and draw increasingly larger numbers of teachers into professional 
development sessions, were regarded as best practices that can and do occur in Alberta 
schools. 

In addition, schools where ESL students are regarded as gifts rather than burdens and 
where differentiation and modification of curricula is the norm and where research is 
incorporated into classroom instruction, may predict academic success of ESL students. 

ESL Resource Materials 

Materials at varieties of reading and interest levels were cited as the next most valuable 
resources. There was general agreement that appropriate resources are difficult to find and 
as a result teachers resort to authoring their own. 

Time to Complete High School 

Time to complete high school was identified as an important factor that influences drop-out 
rates of ESL students. 

Mentoring and Extracurricular Support 

Mentoring support , particularly buddying of new ESL students to students whose first 
language is English and/or to students who share the same cultural group as the newcomer 
student, was regarded as a common best practice that most schools employ. After-school 
programs , homework clubs and life skills programs were mentioned as best practices. In 
large jurisdictions such as CBE, groups such as the Boys and Girls Club and Bridge 
Foundation for Youth were identified as providing important support to ESL students. Also 
mentioned were settlement programs for families/parents that help to empower parents to 
gain familiarity with their children’s schools and school system. Stakeholders/experts 
cautioned that over-reliance on community volunteers can occur and should not replace the 
role of school jurisdictions in assuming responsibility for supporting ESL students. 

Other predictor variables mentioned by stakeholders/experts included: 

• Quality/quantity/duration of instructional support (that is, time for ESL students to 
learn English) 

• Level of collaboration of the jurisdiction/school with community supports 

• Social supports available to parents/families 

• Level of integration of ESL students into mainstream classes 

• Students’ attitudes 

• Level of support for LI in the community 

• Standardized monitoring and assessment processes 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



• Representation of cultural diversity on school staff 

• Level of participation of ESL students on Provincial Achievement Tests 

• Number of ESL students enrolled in post-secondary programs across faculties 
(i.e., beyond engineering and science) 

Barriers to Implementing Best Practices 

Stakeholders/experts confirmed predictor variables by identifying several barriers they 
regard as impeding implementation of best practice support to ESL students: 

■ Appropriate levels of resourcing (e.g., funds to supplement Basic Instructional Grants 
(BIG) for ESL students, removal of the five-year cap on funding for ESL) 

■ Public awareness and support for increased funding for ESL students — foreign or 
Canadian-born — including advocacy to local school boards 

■ Positive self-esteem of ESL students 

■ Non-racist school environment 

■ Appropriate assessment and support for post-traumatic stress 

■ Teacher expertise in second language acquisition and cross-cultural training 
(including teachers with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds) 

■ Affordable and accessible professional development opportunities for teachers and 
support professionals 

■ Consistent assessment processes that help to identify authentic special needs; 

■ Standard Guides of Study for ESL across grade levels 

■ Consistent administration of achievement tests (in this case, Provincial Achievement 
Tests) 

■ Settlement support for ESL families to encourage their active engagement in their 
students’ academic lives, and reduce ESL students’ responsibilities to support the 
family 

■ Realistic expectations of parents of ESL students 

■ Integrated information systems that support information sharing among jurisdictions 
and levels of education (e.g., school/university) 

Funding 

The school-based funding model currently in place in Alberta is of concern to 
stakeholders/experts particularly with respect to equity for ESL students. 
Stakeholders/experts were aware that in some schools in order to help ESL students 
complete high school, schools are overlooking age and funding restrictions and allow ESL 
students to attend regardless. 

Stakeholders/experts support increased funding support for ESL students during their first 
two years in Alberta schools and greater accountability by jurisdictions and schools for 
disposition of funds to ESL overall. They also support funding/increased funding for: 

a) Teacher professional development (e.g., how to optimize use of teacher assistants) 

b) Research (i.e., researching and profiling the early literacy needs of ESL students and 
linking that to benchmarks and instructional strategies; researching best practices in 
other jurisdictions particularly with respect to assessment processes and tools; and 
conducting a literature review on diagnostic tools) 

c) Reducing class sizes to allow classroom teachers to spend more time with ESL 
students 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



d) Increasing funding for sheltered classrooms and bridging strategies to integrate ESL 
students into mainstream classes 

e) Funding for curriculum development and standardized benchmarks 

f) Enhanced support for psychological support 

g) Advocacy for increased federal support for settlement and instructional support for 
ESL students 

h) Continued support for special funding such as AISI 



B3. CASE STUDIES: PREDICTORS OF ESL STUDENT SUCCESS 

The top 5 influencing factors reported most frequently by case study schools were: 

■ Pre-immigration experiences (educational/socio-emotional) 

■ Proficiency in LI and L2 

■ Age at entry 

■ Teacher training 

■ Mentoring supports 

Other factors mentioned included: 

■ Parent support 

■ Resources 

■ Leadership 

■ Class size 

■ Student motivation 

It is interesting to note that in four of the eight case study schools proficiency in LI was 
mentioned as a more important factor influencing student achievement than proficiency in 
L2, although both were considered important by all schools. Teacher training/qualification 
was mentioned less frequently and with lower priority as an important predictor of student 
achievement in rural than urban schools visited. 

Best Practices 

Participant interviewees in case study schools were asked to share their perspectives on 
best practices, and in addition, any barriers they felt circumvented the likelihood of best 
practice implementation. The following list and chart represents their views. A range of best 
practices were reported by case study schools as follows: 

a) Small group instruction was regarded more frequently as a best practice at the 
elementary level, while sheltered classrooms were identified at junior and senior high 
levels 

b) Resources are particularly important at the elementary level 

c) Caring staff may be regarded as more important than ESL training at the elementary 
level 

d) Good diagnosis and assessment were identified as best practices at elementary and 
senior high levels 

e) Teacher assistants were identified at elementary and senior high levels 

f) Leadership, parent involvement and teacher mentoring were identified as best 
practices at all levels 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 32. Best Practices Reported by Case Study Schools 



Most Common Best Practices Identified 


Elementary 


Jr. High 


Sr. Hiqh 


Small group instruction 






V 


Integration 






V, V 


Sheltered classrooms 




V 


V 


Ability-age grouping 


V 






Cooperative learning 


V 




V 


Emphasis on oral language 


V 






Specific instructional strategies (list of ESL students 
across school, displaying students’ work, vocabulary 
development, report cards directly home) 






V 


Multiple methods 


V, V 






Leadership/supportive administration 


V, V 


V 


V, V 


Visual aids 






V 


Good resources 


V, V, V, V 




V, V 


Teacher-developed resources 


V 






Caring, competent staff 


V 






Teacher passion 




V 


V 


Trained teachers 






V 


Special education support, resource room, teacher 
assistants 


V 




V, V 


Ability to track performance over time 


V 






Good diagnosis/assessment 


V 




V, V 


Assessment of L2 proficiency 






V 


Use of rubrics in classrooms 






V 


Mentoring supports for students (peer support, cross- 
grade pairing) 


V, V 




V, V 


Teacher mentoring/sharing/professional development 


V 


V 


V, V 


Community mentoring/supports 


V 




V 


Parent involvement 


V 


V 


V 


Involvement of community members 


V 






Celebration of diversity 


V 




V 



Supportive administrators were reported as key facilitators of best practices at all levels. In 
particular, specialists available from the jurisdiction were identified at the senior high level. 
Elementary case study schools identified small class sizes, teacher collaboration and on- 
the-job training as helping them to implement best practice strategies. 

Key barriers and challenges to implementing best practice were reported by case study 
schools as indicated in the chart below. Common across elementary, junior and senior high 
was the limitations of the five year funding cap, lack of funding for resources and lack of 
trained teachers. Lack of parental support and involvement was identified at elementary and 
senior high levels. Note that the junior high school visited had a large proportion of ESL 
students and staff dedicated specifically to ESL students. This may account for the lower 
number of barriers identified than in the elementary schools visited. Similar results are 
reflected by one of the senior high school visited. The second senior high had very few ESL 
students. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 33. Barriers to Best Practices in Case Study Schools 



Most Common Barriers Identified 


Elementary 


Jr. High 


Sr. High 


Lack of knowledge of resources 


V 






Lack of time for teacher collaboration 


V 






Lack of PD (appropriate, during school hours etc.) 








Identifying student needs masked by proficiency in L2 


V 






Lack of trained teachers (ESL, differentiated instruction) 






V 


Lack of specialized services 


V 






Identification of ESL students (code 303) 


V 






5-year funding cap 


V 


V 


V 


Sporadic student attendance 




V 




Large class sizes 


V 






Segregation among cultural groups 


V, V 






Ability to respond to cultural needs 


V 






Meeting special needs of ESL students 


V 






Teacher turnover 


V, V 






Lack of funds to purchase resources 


V 


V 


V 


Lack of funds to hire teachers 


V 




V 


Time (for instruction, to visit families) 


V, V 




V 


Lack of parental support/involvement (e.g., little 
understanding of English, lack of communication) 


V, V, V, V 




V 


Socio-economic situation of family (e.g., substance abuse) 


V 




V 


Inaccurate ages of students on entry 


V 






Lack of social support for family in the community (drug, 
gang problems, housing/nutrition) 






V 


Overcoming reputation of school 






V 



Funding 

Six of the eight case study schools expressed dissatisfaction with levels of funding. Amounts 
per ESL student above Basic Instructional Grant varied: $900 (in addition to 35 Credit 
Equivalent Units), $925 (fora total of $4787), and $1020. One large urban high school 
reported block funding at $4000 per ESL student per year. In one of these schools (rural 
elementary) most students are Aboriginal and additional funds are received from other 
sources (First Nations). 

With respect to funding, case study data indicate that only two schools studied (one a rural 
elementary and one a rural high school) are satisfied with the level of funding they receive 
from their jurisdictions for ESL students. The elementary school reported receiving 
approximately $660 per ESL student above the Basic Instructional Grant (BIG), while the 
high school receives approximately $1020. In the high school, there are very few ESL 
students and those students are generally affluent and of European heritage. The principal 
in the rural high school visited supports a greater proportion of funding for elementary 
schools in his jurisdiction since students generally arrive at a young age and the principal 
felt that greater support for ESL students should be offered in the early years of their arrival. 
In this school funding for ESL is also used to support the special education program which 
benefits non-ESL students as well. 

The principal of the rural elementary school reported that a surplus of funds results in his 
school whose ESL student population is comprised mainly of Kanadier Mennonites. Funds 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



in this elementary school are used to increase teacher time with ESL students and to hire 
teacher assistants. 

The five year funding cap is viewed as too limited for students to gain proficiency in English. 
ESL students entering Alberta schools at elementary and/or junior high levels may have 
used the five year funding allotment prior to entering high school. If an ESL student enters 
Alberta schools when he/she is of high school age, age restrictions generally mean that ESL 
students are unable to gain sufficient proficiency in English to complete high school. 

Further, current policy dictates that students who leave high school without completing 
diploma requirements, and who want to complete high school requirements in the adult 
education system, must wait one year before entering the adult education system. This is of 
serious concern to high school teachers who believe that many students fail to enroll in the 
adult education system and either halt their education altogether, or enter the workforce — 
under-educated and under-skilled. 

Achievement Testing 

The following are some overall perspectives from stakeholders/experts and case study 
participants. 

Stakeholders/Experts: Achievement Testing 

Stakeholders/experts suspect that criteria for selecting ESL students who would not write 
PATs are inconsistently implemented across the province. Some schools, for example, may 
exempt ESL students to maintain a school average, which is often lowered with inclusion of 
test results of ESL students, particularly if the English skills of these students are low. 
Therefore, diploma exam results may not be a good indicator of academic success of ESL 
students. 

Case Studies: Achievement Testing 

Case study participants indicated that level of funding support for ESL programs in the 
school has a significant influence on student achievement on PATs. They also indicated that 
accommodations are provided to ESL students, typically in the form of readers, scribes, and 
extra time. Exemptions are common when the student has been in Canada for less than one 
year. Teachers generally request exemptions from their school administrators who then 
forward requests to their superintendents. Exemption and accommodation practices for 
PATs were not consistent across case study schools (i.e., the level and type of support 
provided varied). 



B4. PREDICTORS OF ESL STUDENT SUCCESS 

Predictors of academic achievement of ESL students were examined and are presented 
according to the following outcome areas: 

1 . Remaining in the Alberta Education system 12 

2. Moving forward in system with age peers 13 



12 Remaining in the Alberta Education system: Within each cohort, students were identified as having maintained 
their enrolment in the Alberta Education system if they were identified as part of the cohort and were found to be 
enrolled in any school and at any grade in the 2003/04 school year. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



3. PAT/DE completion 14 

4. PAT/DE results 15 

5. Improvement in achievement over successive PAT/DEs 16 
Data Sources 

Data for the predictor analyses were drawn from two data sources. The first included 
individual student information and outcome data provided by Alberta Education. The second 
was information that Howard Research collected through a school-based survey (randomly 
selected schools throughout the province). The purpose of the survey was to collect both 
contextual information regarding the school environment ESL students experience as well 
as potential school-based predictors of success (e.g., instructional methods, models of 
instruction) that have been identified in the literature. 

This initial identification of predictors was exploratory in nature. As a result, analyses largely 
took the form of regression analyses with the exception of the exploration of changes in 
relative achievement levels over subsequent completions of PAT/DEs (Provincial 
Achievement Tests or Diploma Exams). A full description of methods and results can be 
found under separate cover in the ESL Study Appendices under Predictors of ESL Student 
Outcomes. 

Data Source #1: Information System Data 

A measurement of outcomes existed at the individual level and was specific to PAT/DEs in 
grades 3, 6, 9, and 12 these grade levels are represented as separate cohorts for analyses. 
Though year cohorts could also have been identified and analyzed, a decision was made to 
restrict all analyses to the completers or potential completers of PAT/DEs in 2003/04. Grade 
cohort identification was somewhat complex as PAT/DE completions can be considered 
outcomes in their own right. As a result, cohorts needed to be identified beyond those 
students registered as grade 3, 6, 9, and 12 in 2003/04. Rather, a procedure of applying 
inclusion criteria was used to select all students who were potential members of each 
cohort. 

Inclusion Criteria Information System Data 

A series of decision criteria were used to eliminate students included as a result of potential 
data entry errors as well as those with extreme deviation from more prototypical cohort 
members. Specifically the following criteria were used: 



13 Moving forward in system with age peers: Within each cohort, students were identified as having moved 
forward with their age peers if they were identified as part of the cohort and were found to be enrolled in any 
school at the final grade within each cohort definition (i.e. , at grade 3, 6, 9, and 12 within the K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 9- 
12 cohorts respectively). 

14 PAT/DE Completion. Within each cohort, students were identified as having completed PAT/DEs if identified by 
Alberta Education as having completed the exams. Students who partially completed a component of an exam 
were identified as non-completers. 

15 PAT/DE Achievement Results: Within each cohort, PAT/DE percentage scores were used for analysis. For 
PATs only total scores on each exam were available for analyses. For diploma courses in grade 12, exam 
scores, school scores and total scores (average of exam and school) were available for analyses. It is important 
to note that only exam completers are included in the analyses. 

16 Improved Achievement: Improved achievement was operationalized as the residuals remaining after 
regressing an earlier PAT result on a subsequent PAT/DE result (e.g., regressing grade 6 Math PAT scores on 
grade 9 Math PAT scores). These residuals represent improvements or deteriorations from previous 
achievement levels. These residuals control for previous achievement levels and are more relevant to assessing 
the effectiveness of what schools have implemented for ESL student programming. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Criteria 1 : A student’s grade in each year was subtracted from their grade in each 
subsequent year then summed across all year pairs. The following were considered 
acceptable criteria 1 scores: 

■ 0-3 for grade 3 cohort 

■ 0-6 for grade 6 cohort 

■ 0-8 for grade 9 cohort 

■ 0-8 for grade 12 cohort 17 

Criteria 2: A student’s grade in each year was subtracted from their grade in each 
subsequent year. The number of times the result was a value other than 1 orO (1= advanced, 
0= retained) was computed. A record was retained if this occurred two or fewer times. 

Criteria 3: The number of times a student’s grade exceeded the cohort maximum was 
computed (e.g., grade 4 indicated for an individual identified as K-3). A record was retained if 
this occurred one or fewer times. 

Criteria 4: The number of times a grade was identified in the last three school years that was 
a member of a grade cohort two levels removed (e.g., being identified in grade 3 in 2001/02 
when the individual was identified as being in the 9-12 cohort in 2003/04) was computed. A 
record was retained if this occurred one or fewer times. 

Criteria 5: Each student’s age was subtracted from the modal age within each cohort (i.e., 8, 
11,14 and 17 within the K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 9-12 cohorts respectively). Students that deviated 
from this modal age by three or fewer years were retained. 

Individual Predictors by Proxy 

There are several potential individual-level predictors that are not collected as part of the 
Student Information System (SIS). These include important ESL student characteristics such 
as refugee status, first language proficiency, special needs (beyond English proficiency), 
being in need of trauma counseling, previous formal schooling, and English language 
proficiency. In order to estimate the relationship between these variables and ESL student 
success outcomes, the proportion of students within schools meeting with a particular 
characteristic was used as a proxy for these ESL student characteristics. That is, rather than 
looking at the direct relationship between these characteristics and success outcomes, the 
relationship between the probability of having these characteristics (calculated from 
information collected in the school survey) and success outcomes was used. 

These results should be interpreted with caution as this process may overestimate the 
predictive effects of these variables. As these proxies describe students currently within the 
Alberta education system and not those who may have dropped out of the system, using 
these proxies in predicting maintained enrolment in the system is not appropriate and 
therefore was not analyzed as a potential outcome. 

Outcome Analysis 

Though all PAT subject areas and a variety of grade 12 matriculation courses were 
analyzed as outcomes, detailed synthesis focused on English (English Language Arts 30.1 
in grade 12) and Math results (Pure Math 30 in grade 12). These two subject areas were 
chosen for two reasons. The first is that these subject areas are consistently assessed 



Data are available to 1995/96 only. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



across all grade cohorts. The second is that these areas likely represent those most 
(English) and least (math) influenced by English language proficiency among ESL students. 

Data Source #2: School Survey Data 

The school survey was used in combination with data obtained from Alberta Education to 
analyze the relationships between school-level predictors and improvement in achievement 
between subsequent PAT/DE writings. The original intent was to use a hierarchical linear 
analyses approach to combine school-level and individual data. However, the variability in 
the number of ESL students across schools resulted in an inadequate sample size to 
estimate regression parameters within schools. As a result, school-level data were merged 
with the individual outcome data (IS data) using the school code as a merging variable. It 
should be noted that this approach tends to overestimate predictive effects of school context 
variables. 

This initial identification of predictors using school survey data is exploratory in nature. As a 
result, analyses largely took the form of simple regression analyses with the exception of the 
exploration of changes in relative achievement levels over subsequent completions of PATs 
or DEs. In the former case, zero order correlation coefficients (or simple effect sizes) are 
reported and synthesized. In the latter case, the effects of potential predictors were 
assessed after controlling for previous achievement levels using a multiple regression 
covariate approach. 

Inclusion Criteria School Survey Data 

In examining the predictive influences of school context variables, all school respondents 
(principal or teacher) that appeared to be responding vis-a-vis an entire school rather than 
the specific grade ranges requested were excluded from analyses 18 . 

Outcome Analysis 

For school survey data, the outcome analyzed was improvement in achievement. This was 
operationalized as the predictive residuals after regressing an earlier PAT exam result on a 
later PAT or Diploma Exam. This procedure was used as it is most likely to isolate the 
effects of school contextual variables while controlling for both previous school experience 
and achievement levels a student brought with him/her when entering a particular grade 
cohort. As it is not possible to control for previous achievement levels in the K-3 cohort, 
these grades were not included in the analyses. 

It is important to note that non-significant results indicate that there is no deterioration or 
improvement in relative achievement over successive PAT or Diploma Exam results. In 
other words, the students represented by these cells have maintained their acquisition of 
grade appropriate academic skills, though they are still achieving at levels below their non- 
ESL counterparts. Positive relationships suggest that the school context has accelerated 
their acquisition of skills (i.e. , catching up) whereas negative relationships indicate a 
deceleration in skill acquisition (i.e. falling further behind). 

As a result of the nature of analyses conducted, the predictive effect sizes derived from 
school survey data may also be overestimated. Caution in interpretation is warranted. 



18 K-6 schools that appeared to be responding based on the ESL context for the entire school were excepted from this criteria. 
An assumption was made that similar environmental contexts would apply across both the K-3 and 4-6 cohorts. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



B4.1 Summary of Individual-Level Predictors of Remaining in the Alberta Education 
System 

A summary of the significant predictors of remaining in the Alberta Education system is 
provided in Table 34. To simplify the presentation of results only those effects that 
demonstrated a discernable pattern of findings across grade cohorts are presented and 
discussed below. According to the 2005-2006 Funding Manual for School Authorities the 
following definitions are used: 

301 - Foreign-born funded ESL students 
303 - Canadian born funded ESL students 

302 - Non-funded ESL students 19 



Table 34. Probability of Remaining in the Alberta Education System 



PREDICTORS 


Grade 3 


Grade 6 


Grade 9 


Grade 12 


Canadian born (in comparison to foreign born) 




t* 




4' 4"!' 


More years as 301 student 


ft 




tt 


tttt 


More years as 302 student 






u 


tt 


More years as 303 student 






tt 


4444- 


Delay between entering the system and being identified as ESL 


t 


t 


1 


tt 


Number of years former ESL funded (301 or 302) student has 
been in system as non funded 


1 


u 


444 


444 


Later age at entry into Alberta system 


t 






tt 


Later grade at entry in Alberta system 


t 




tt 


ttt 



All indicated effects are significant. Only those effects with a relatively consistent pattern of results across age cohorts are reported. The number 
of arrows indicates effect size: t = .050-.099, TT = .10 - .19, ttt= .20 - .29, tttt = .30-.39, T1TTT = .40-.49. 



Predictor: Student Type 

Key Finding In comparison to foreign-born funded ESL students (code 301), Canadian- 
born funded ESL students (code 303) are more likely to remain within the 
Alberta Education system to grade 6 but less likely to remain within the 
Alberta Education system to grade 12. The longer foreign-born ESL 
students are funded (code 301) the more likely they are to remain in the 
Alberta education system. In contrast, the more years students receive 
funding as a Canadian-born ESL student (code 303) the less likely they 
are to remain within the Alberta education system. In addition, the more 
years a student is coded as non-funded (code 302) the less likely they are 
to remain in the Alberta Education system. 

Predictor: Delayed Identification of ESL Status 

Key Finding The longer the delay in identification of ESL status the more likely students 
will remain within the Alberta Education system in the earlier grade levels, 
but the less likely they will remain within the Alberta Education system at 
later grades. The effect sizes for later grades are more robust. 

Possible Explanation/lmplication : These results indicate that early 
identification is important for the long-term retention of ESL students. 

Predictor: Termination of Funded Status 

Key Finding The longer formerly funded Canadian- and foreign-born ESL students are 



19 International students on study permit were not included in any analyses. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



in the system without funding support, the less likely they are to remain in 
the Alberta Education system at junior and senior high levels. 

Possible Explanation/lmplication : Results indicate that continued funded 
support may be necessary to prevent ESL student from leaving the 
education system. 

Predictor: Age/Grade at Entry 

Key Finding In comparison to ESL students entering the system at younger ages, older 
ESL students are more likely to remain within the Alberta Education 
system. 

Possible Explanation/Implication : Given the longitudinal nature of this 
study is it not unexpected that those entering the system at later ages 
would have remained in the system at the critical outcome periods 
identified (i.e., In grades 3, 6, 9 and 12). These students would have had 
less opportunity to exit the system then their younger age at entry cohorts. 



B4.2 Summary of Individual-Level Predictors of Moving Forward with Age Peers 

A summary of the significant predictors of the likelihood of ESL students moving forward 
with age peers is presented in Table 35. To simplify the presentation of results only those 
effects that demonstrated a discernable pattern of findings across grade cohorts are 
presented and discussed. 



Table 35. Probability of Moving Forward with Age Peers 



PREDICTORS 


Grade 3 


Grade 6 


Grade 9 


Grade 12 












Canadian-born (in comparison to foreign-born) 


ir 




If 


!!!!! 


Years coded as 301 student 






t 


ttt 


Years coded as 302 student 






Ur 


U 


Number of years former ESL funded student has been in 
system as non-funded 




ir 


i 


U 


Later age of entry into Alberta system 


t 


ir 


tt 


ttt 


Later grade at entry in Alberta system 




i 


ttf 


tttt 


Probability of limited first language proficiency 






u 


1 


Probability of having special needs 








!!!!! 



All indicated effects are significant. Only those effects with a relatively consistent pattern of results across age cohorts are reported. The number 
of arrows indicates effect size: T = .050-.099, TT = .10 - .19, TTT= .20 - .29, tttt = .30-.39, TTtTT = .40- .49. 



Predictor: Student Type 

Key Finding Canadian-born funded ESL students (code 303) are less likely to be 
moved forward with their age peers than foreign-born funded ESL 
students (code 301) in almost all grades. The longer foreign-born ESL 
students are funded (code 301) the more likely they will be moved 
forward with their age peers at the senior and junior high levels. In 
contrast, the more years a student is coded as non-funded (302) the 
less likely they are to be moved forward with their age peers. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Predictor: Termination of Funded Status 

Key Finding The longer formerly funded Canadian- and foreign-born ESL students 
are in the system without funding support, the less likely they are to be 
moved forward with their age peers. This is particularly true at the 
senior high level. 

Possible Explanation/Implication : Results indicate that continued 
funding support may be necessary to allow ESL students to keep pace 
with their age peers. 

Predictor: Age/Grade at Entry 

Key Finding In comparison to ESL students entering the system at younger ages, older 
ESL students are more likely to be moved forward with their age peers. An 
exception to this happens for those entering in later elementary grades. 

For these students, the older they are at entry, the less likely they are to 
be moved forward with their age peers. These findings tend to be mirrored 
using grade at entry as a predictor. 

Possible Explanation/lmplication : The small, yet anomalous finding in the 
grade 6 cohort may be a function of elementary teachers being more 
reluctant to promote older ESL students into junior high when the student 
may still have significant English proficiency deficits. 

Predictor: Limited First Language 

Key Finding In comparison to ESL students who are proficient in their first 

language, those with limited first language proficiency are less likely to 
be moved forward with their age peers in junior high and high school. 

Predictor: ESL with Special Needs 

Key Finding In comparison to those ESL students without special needs, those with 
special are less likely to be moved forward with their age peers at junior 
and senior high. 

B4.3 Summary of Individual Level Predictors of Completion of PAT/Diploma Exams 

A summary of the significant predictors of PAT/DE completion is provided in Table 36. To 

simplify the presentation of results only those effects that demonstrate a discernable pattern 

of findings across grade cohorts are presented and discussed. 



Table 36. Probability of PAT/DE Completion 





English 


Math | 


Grades -> 


G3 


G6 


G9 


G12 


G3 


G6 


G9 


G12 


PREDICTORS 


















Canadian-born (in comparison to foreign-born) 


t 




44 


4 


t 






44 


More years as 302 student 




4 


4 






4 


44 


4 


More years as303 student 


t 


t 


44 




t 


T 


44 


4 


Number of years former ESL funded student has been in system 
as non-funded 






ft 


tt 






tt 


tt 


Delay between entering the system and being identified as ESL 


t 


4 


4 


44 


t 


4 


44 


44 


Later age at entry into Alberta system 


4- 


4 


4 


44 


4 


4 






Later grade at entry in Alberta system 


44 


4 


4 


44 




4 






Females (in comparison to males) 


t 


t 




t 




t 






Probability of limited first language proficiency 



















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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 





English 


Math | 


Grades -» 


G3 


G6 


G9 


G12 


G3 


G6 


G9 


G12 


PREDICTORS 


















Probability of having special needs 


u 






u 


u 








Probability of requiring trauma counselling 








u 











All indicated effects are significant. Only those effects with a relatively consistent pattern of results across age cohorts are reported. The number 
of arrows indicates effect size: t = .050-.099, TT = .10 - .19, TTt= .20 - .29, tfTT = .30-.39, TTtTT = .40- .49. 



Predictor: ESL Student Type 

Key Finding In comparison to foreign-born ESL students, Canadian-born ESL 
students are at a greater disadvantage when it comes to remaining 
within the Alberta Education system, completing PATs, and 
achievement on PATs. The differences between foreign- and 
Canadian-born students are greatest at the junior and senior high 
levels. In addition, the longer students are coded as Canadian-born 
ESL students (code 303) the greater the disadvantage grows. Similarly, 
the longer students are identified as non-funded ESL students (code 
302), the more likely they are to be disadvantaged when it comes to 
remaining within the Alberta Education system, moving forward in the 
system with age peers, completing PATs, and achieving on PATs. This 
is particularly true at the junior high level. In contrast, the longer 
students are coded as foreign-born ESL students (code 301) the more 
likely they are to remain within the Alberta Education system and move 
forward in the system with their peers, particularly in the later grades. 

Possible Explanation/Implication : While further research is required, 
these findings suggest that Canadian-born ESL students may be 
experiencing more chronic language deficiencies than foreign-born 
ESL students. While foreign-born students remain at a disadvantage in 
comparison to non-ESL students, their language deficiencies may be 
more acute upon entry into the system, but become less profound (in 
comparison to Canadian-born ESL students) as they progress through 
the system. 

Predictor: Termination of Funded Status 

Key Finding The longer it has been since an ESL student has had his/her funding 
terminated the more likely he/she is to complete PAT/DEs at the 
secondary level. 

Possible Explanation/lmplicatiorr . It is likely that the students who 
remain in the Alberta Education system and at an age appropriate 
grade level after funding termination are those who have reached a 
higher level of English proficiency and thus are more likely to complete 
PAT/DEs. 

Predictor: Delayed Identification of ESL Status 

Key Finding The longer the delay in identification of ESL status the more likely a 
student is to complete PATs in early elementary, but the less likely 
he/she is to complete PAT/DEs in grade 6 and beyond. 



69 





K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Predictor: Age at Entry / Grade at Entry 

Key Finding Students entering the system at an older age and/or are admitted to a 
more advanced grade are less likely to complete their PAT/DEs in 
English than those entering at a younger age. In elementary grades 
the completion of math PATs are similarly affected. 

Possible Explanation/lmplicatiorr . There are two likely explanations for 
these results. The first is that the older the ESL student is at entry the 
less time he/she has to gain sufficient English proficiency to complete 
exams. The second is that these students are not completing exams 
for fear that school-level achievement results may be negatively 
impacted by their participation. 

Predictor: Gender 

Key Finding In comparison to male ESL students, female ESL students are more likely 
to complete English PAT/DEs at most grade levels and the more likely 
they are to complete math in grade 6. These effects are very small though 
significant. 

Predictor: Limited First Language 

Key Finding In comparison to those students with first language proficiency, those with 
limited first language proficiency appear to be less likely to complete PATs 
at the junior high level. 

Predictor: ESL with Special Needs 

Key Finding In comparison to those ESL students without special needs, those with 
special needs appear to be less likely to complete PAT/DEs in both early 
elementary and senior high. 

Predictor: ESL Trauma Counselling 

Key Finding In comparison to those ESL students who may not require trauma 

counselling, those who may require trauma counselling appear to be less 
likely to complete matriculation Diploma Exams in grade 12 English and 
math. 



B4.4 Summary of Individual-Level Predictors of Achievement on PAT/Diploma Exams 

A summary of the significant predictors of PAT/DE achievement levels is provided in Table 
37. To simplify the presentation of results only those effects that demonstrate a discernable 
pattern of findings across cohorts are presented and discussed. 

Table 37. Predictors of Achievement on PAT/Diploma Exams 





English 


Math | 


Grades -> 


G3 


G6 


G9 


G12 


G3 


G6 


G9 


G12 


PREDICTORS 


















Canadian born (in comparison to foreign-born) 


4 


u 


Hi 




tt 


tt 




tt 


More years as 302 student 




t 


t 






4- 


tt 




More years as 303 student 


u 


u 






it 


U 






Number of years former ESL funded (301 or 302) 
student has been in system as non funded 


t 


ttt 


ttt 


ttt 


t 


tt 


tt 





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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 





English 


Math | 


Grades -» 


G3 


G6 


G9 


G12 


G3 


G6 


G9 


G12 


PREDICTORS 


















Delay between entering the system and being 
identified as ESL 






tt 






t 


tt 


t 


Later age at entry into Alberta system 






t 


'i - 


t 


t 


tt 




Later grade at entry in Alberta system 






t 


'i' 


t 


t 


tt 




Females (in comparison to males) 


tt 


tt 


tt 


t 


t 


t 


t 




Probability of limited first language proficiency 








tttt 










Probability of having special needs 




w 




t 




tt 




^ 4' 4' 


Probability of limited formal schooling 


Hi 








4' 4' 4' 




tt 




Probability of lower English proficiency level 


u 


w 














Probability of refugee status 














tt 


tt 



All indicated effects are significant. Only those effects with a relatively consistent pattern of results across age cohorts are reported. The number 
of arrows indicates effect size: T = .050-.099, TT = .10 - .19, ttt= .20 - .29, tttt = .30-.39, ttttt = .40- .49. 



Predictor: ESL Student Type 

Key Finding In comparison to foreign-born funded ESL students (code 301), 

Canadian-born funded ESL students (code 303) achieve at lower levels 
on PATs in grades 3, 6, and 9 in both English and math. In addition the 
longer ESL students are coded as Canadian-born funded the lower 
their achievement levels on PATs in most grade levels. The longer a 
student is identified as a non-funded ESL student the lower their 
achievement levels on PATs in later elementary and junior high. 

Possible Explanation/Implication : Results indicate that Canadian-born 
funded ESL students (code 303) and non-funded ESL students (code 302) 
are at the greatest disadvantage among ESL students in the current 
education system in Alberta. 

Predictor: Termination of Funding 

Key Finding The longer it has been since an ESL student has had his/her funding 
terminated the higher their PAT/DE exam scores. This is found across 
most grade levels and in both English and math. 

Possible Explanation/Implication -. It is likely that those ESL students who 
remain in the Alberta Education system and are moved forward with their 
age peers after funding termination are those who have reached a higher 
level of English language proficiency. 

Predictor: Delayed Identification of ESL Status 

Key Finding Longer delays between ESL student’s entering the Alberta education 

system and subsequently being identified as an ESL student are related to 
lower PAT/DE achievement levels, particularly in junior high. 

Predictor: Age at Entry / Grade at Entry 

Key Finding In comparison to ESL students entering at a younger age, ESL students 
entering the system at an older age and/or grade level are performing 
better in mathematics in the earlier grade cohorts (3, 6, and 9) but less 
well in English in the later grade cohorts (9 and 12). 

Possible Explanation/Implication : Older students are likely entering the 
system with more advanced mathematics skills as a result of mathematics 
instruction in their first language. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Predictor: Gender 

Key Finding In comparison to male ESL students, female ESL students are more likely 
to achieve higher English PAT/DE test scores (particularly in grades 3 
through 9). In comparison to female ESL students, male ESL students are 
more likely to achieve higher math PAT test scores. These later effects are 
not as strong as the female English achievement effects. 

Predictor: Limited First Language 

Key Finding Compared with ESL students with first language proficiency, ESL students 
with limited first language achieve less well on PATs in early elementary 
grades but better in high school on the grade 12 English Diploma Exam. 

Possible Explanation/lmplicatiorr . One possible explanation is that in the 
high school context, ESL students with higher first language proficiency 
may be socializing with others in their first language at the expense of 
acquiring increasing proficiency in English. 

Predictor: ESL with Special Needs 

Key Finding In comparison to those ESL students without special needs, those with 
special needs appear to be achieving less well on PAT/DEs at both later 
elementary and senior high levels. 

Predictor: Limited Formal Schooling 

Key Finding In comparison to those ESL students with a formal schooling background, 
those ESL students with limited formal schooling appear to be achieving 
less well on PATs at both early elementary and junior high levels. 

Predictor: Level of English Proficiency 

Key Finding In comparison to those ESL students with a higher level of English 
proficiency, those ESL students with limited English proficiency are 
performing at lower achievement levels on PATs in the elementary 
grades. 

Predictor: Refugee Status 

Key Finding In comparison to those students without refugee status, those with refugee 
status appear to be achieving lower in math PAT/DE scores at the junior 
high and high school levels. 



B4.5 Summary of School-Level Predictors of Improved Achievement of PAT Exams 

The predictive results that focus on school contextual level variables focused only improved 
achievement over successive PAT examinations. Because baseline information does not 
exist for early elementary grades, contextual relationships could not be assessed at these 
grade levels. Also, due to a small sample size for the grade 12 cohort (less than 100), it was 
decided the results were too unstable to warrant discussion. The key findings are 
summarized in the Table 38. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 34. School Level Predictors of Improved Achievement on PAT Exams 





English 


Math | 


Grades -» 


G6 


G9 


G6 


G9 


PREDICTORS 










School Size 










Total number of students (including ESL) 


tt 


tt 




tt 












ESL Teacher Qualifications Training and Specialization 










Proportion of ESL designated /mainstream teachers with less ESL training 




tt 






Proportion of ESL designated/mainstream teachers with ESL Diploma or Certificate 








tt 


Enhanced school funding of PD for ESL designated teachers 


tt 








PD for ESL designated teachers available and funded by jurisdiction 




tt 






MS teachers modify and adapt programs for ESL students 




tt 
















Funding and Supports 










Enhanced school funding of ESL resource materials 


tt 








Enhanced school funding of interpreters / translators 


tt 






ttt 


Enhanced school funding of tutor support 




tt 






Enhanced school funding of support staff/aides 








tt 












Jurisdictional Supports 










Higher number of jurisdictional supports 


tt 




tt 




Additional teaching staff available and funded by jurisdiction 


tt 




tt 




Additional support staff available and funded by jurisdiction 






tt 




Interpreters/translators available and funded by jurisdiction 






tt 




ESL Consultants available and funded by jurisdiction 






tt 




Other professionals available and funded by jurisdiction 






tt 




Reception Centre available and funded by jurisdiction 


tt 








First language resource materials available and funded by jurisdiction 




tt 






Tutor support available and funded by jurisdiction 








tt 












ESL Teams 










ESL team in school 


tt 


tt 






ESL designated teachers represented on team 


tt 


tt 






School counselors represented on team 




tt 






ESL Team Functioning Score (1-5) 


ttt 


















ESL Class Structure 










Half-day self-contained 






4' 4' 4' 




Pull-out - School-based 




tt 




4' 4' 4' 


In-class ESL support 






ttt 














ESL Timetabling 










Unstructured timetabling 




'l' 'l' 'l' 




ttt 


Semi-structured timetabling 




tt 






Structured timetabling 






tt 


444 












ESL Student Grouping 










Extent to which able to group students by age 


tt 




tt 


tt 


Extent to which able to group students by English language proficiency 






tt 




Extent to which students are grouped by proficiency in their first language 






tt 














ESL Resource Supports 










Informal peer mentor support (buddy system) 




tt 


tt 




ESL resource materials in English 




ttt 






Dual language ESL resources 




tt 






Tutor support 




ttt 






Formal adult mentoring programs 


tt 








Peer counselling 






tt 




First language instruction in school 




tt 






First language support 








tt 


Community worker support at school 






tt 





73 









K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 34. School Level Predictors of Improved Achievement on PAT Exams 





English 


Math | 


Grades ->■ 


G6 


G9 


G6 


G9 


PREDICTORS 










ESL Instructional Methods* 










Mentoring approaches 






tt 




Integrated language and content instruction 




tt 






Modification approaches 




tt 






Balanced Literacy 


if 


tt 


if 




Realia (Real Life) 






if 




Language Experience 


if 


if 


if 




Phonemic Awareness 


if 






if 












Diagnostic and Assessment Depth and Quality 










Number of different diagnostic assessment types used 






tt 




Number of language skill dimensions assessed 


tt 








Assessment reliability 






tt 




Assessment comprehensiveness 




tt 


tt 




Assessment accuracy 










Assessment application 


tt 




tt 


tt 


Current capacity to have formal first language assessments conducted on ESL 
students 






tt 




Collection of ESL student contextual information 




tt 






School communication support of ESL parents 




tt 







*The Calgary Board of Education's English as a Second Language: English Language Proficiency Benchmarks (2005) provides a summary 
description of the instructional methods discussed in this report. 

All indicated effects are significant. The number of arrows indicates effect size: t = .050-.099, TT = .10 - .19, TTt= .20 - .29, tttt = .30-.39, 
ttttt = .40-. 49. 



Predictor: School Size 

Key Finding In comparison to those ESL students in schools with smaller student 
populations, ESL students in schools with larger student populations 
demonstrate greater improvements in achievement levels in 
elementary and junior high school. 

Predictor: ESL Teacher Qualifications, Training and Specialization 

Key Findings The results indicate that at the junior high level, schools with a higher 
proportion of teachers with more advanced ESL credentials may be 
more effective in improving ESL student achievement levels in math. 
Schools with a higher proportion of teachers with less ESL training and 
those that rely on mainstream teachers to modify and adapt programs 
for ESL students may be having an adverse impact on English 
language achievement. Elementary schools that allocate more per 
student expenditures to professional development for ESL designated 
teachers, and junior high schools with access to PD for ESL designated 
teachers through the jurisdiction, indicate improved ESL student 
achievement levels. 

Possible Explanation/Implication : Overall, it appears that ESL teachers 
with more training, credentials, and specialization are more effective in 
supporting ESL student achievement. 

Predictor: ESL Funding and Resource Distribution 

Key Finding Elementary schools that allocate more per student expenditures to ESL 
resource materials and interpreters and/or translators have a positive 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



impact on improving ESL student achievement levels. At the junior high 
level, results indicate that resource allocation to support staff, interpreters 
and/or translators, as well as tutor support appear to have an impact on 
improving ESL student achievement. 

Predictor: ESL Jurisdictional Supports 

Key Finding Overall, the number of jurisdictional supports provided to a school is 
predictive of improvement in achievement of ESL students in grade 6. 
Elementary schools that have jurisdictional support in the form of 
additional teaching staff, additional support staff, interpreters and/or 
translators, ESL consultants, other professionals (e.g., Speech Language 
Pathologists), and a Reception Centre, appear to positively influence 
achievement of ESL students. At the junior high level, results indicate that 
jurisdictional supports in the form of first language resource material and 
tutor support appear to be having a positive impact. 

Predictor: Team Structure and Functioning 

Key Finding The presence of an ESL team has beneficial effects on improving English 
achievement at elementary and junior high school levels. Having 
designated ESL teachers on these teams appears most beneficial in 
elementary and junior high levels. 

Evidence also suggests that higher team functioning may be an important 
predictor of improvement in achievement of ESL students. Those schools 
that reported higher levels of team functioning also reported greater gains 
in achievement of ESL students at the elementary level. 

Predictor: ESL Class Structure 

Key Finding A half-day self-contained (sheltered) class model may be the least 

appropriate for elementary ESL students. Students in schools using this 
model show deterioration in math achievement. 

For junior high students a pull-out school-based approach was related to 
improvement in English achievement but deterioration in math. In-class 
ESL support on the other hand was not related to changes in English 
achievement levels, but was positively related to improvement in math. 

Possible Explanation /Implication : Results for the half-day self-contained 
model at the elementary level and the pull-out model at the junior high 
level indicate that these less integrated models may be focusing to a 
greater extent on English proficiency at the expense of subject matter 
content. Results indicate that students would benefit most from integrated 
classroom models during the school day with additional sheltered 
instruction for English proficiency (i.e. , an extended school day). 

Predictor: Timetabling 

Key Finding Elementary ESL students may benefit most from a structured timetabling 
approach as indicated by a positive relation to achievement levels in math. 

At the junior high level an unstructured timetabling approach appears to be 
related to improvements in math achievement but deterioration in English. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



A semi-structured approach appears to be related to improvements in 
English achievement, while a structured timetabling approach appears to 
be related to deterioration in math. 

Possible Explanation /Implication : Results suggest that a semi-structured 
approach may be the most appropriate for most students, but that an 
unstructured approach may be more appropriate for students with higher 
levels of English proficiency. 

Predictor: Grouping 

Key Finding Schools that group ESL students by age indicate improved achievement at 
the elementary and junior high levels. At the elementary level, grouping 
students by English language proficiency also appears to have beneficial 
effects on math achievement. 

Grouping students by proficiency in first language appears to be related to 
deterioration in achievement levels at the elementary level. 

Possible Explanation /Implication : Overall, these results appear to support 
grouping by age in most circumstances. 

Predictor: ESL Resource Supports 

Key Finding Elementary schools that use peer counseling, formal adult mentoring and 
informal peer mentoring supports, indicate improved achievement of ESL 
students. 

At the junior high level, schools that use English ESL resource materials, 
dual language resource materials, tutor supports, and informal peer 
mentoring supports, indicate improved achievement of ESL students. In 
contrast, at the junior high level, schools that use first language instruction, 
first language support, and community worker support, indicate 
deterioration in achievement in English and/or math. 

Possible Explanations /Implications : Results indicate that at the 
elementary level, peer counseling, formal adult mentoring and informal 
peer mentoring supports are effective support strategies. At the junior high 
level, many supports appear to be effective but supports that result in time 
away from subject matter content appear to negatively influence 
achievement of ESL students. 

Predictor: Instructional Methods 

Key Finding Elementary schools that use mentoring instructional approaches indicate 
improved achievement of ESL students. In contrast, elementary schools 
that use Balanced Literacy, Language Experience, Phonemic Awareness, 
and Realia approaches, indicate deterioration in achievement of ESL 
students. 

At the junior high level schools that use Balanced Literacy, Integrated 
Language and Content Instruction, and modification approaches indicate 
improved achievement of ESL students. In contrast, schools that use 
Language Experience and Phonemic Awareness approaches indicate 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



deterioration in achievement of ESL students. 

Possible Explanations /Implications : Mentoring approaches appear to be 
effective in the elementary grade levels. More ineffective methods appear 
to be Balanced Literacy, Language Experience and Realia. 

At the junior high level, Balanced Literacy, Integrated Language and 
Content Instruction, and modification approaches appear to be most 
effective, while Language Experience, and Phonemic Awareness appear 
less effective. 

Predictor: Diagnostic and Assessment Characteristics 

Key Finding Overall, the quality and depth of diagnostics and assessment applied to 
ESL students is predictive of improved achievement outcomes in both 
English and math across the different grade cohorts. In addition, the 
number of data elements collected to understand ESL students’ current 
and historical demographic profile was predictive of improved academic 
achievement level in English in junior high. 

Possible Explanation /Implication : It would appear that accurate and in- 
depth assessments are important characteristics for ESL student 
achievement. The collection of demographic and contextual information 
may also help schools tailor instruction to meet specific needs of ESL 
students. 

Predictor: School Communication Support of ESL Parents 

Key Finding The ability of schools to provide information to parents of ESL students 
using first language or simple English was predictive of improved English 
academic achievement among ESL students in junior high. 

Possible Explanation /Implication : Effective communication with parents of 
ESL students appears to be an important facilitator of ESL student 
success. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



C. STUDY PARTICIPANTS’ RECOMMENDATIONS 



The following three groups were asked to identify recommendations to address the needs of 
ESL students. The three groups were experts/stakeholders, case study participants, and 
school principals who participated in the province-wide survey. Their recommendations are 
presented in their entirety in the tables on the following pages. In addition, where support 
could be identified from literature and from predictor variables, notation is made. (Please 
note that in the tables NA refers to Not Applicable or Not Addressed in this study.) 

Below are listed 18 recommendations that reflect convergence across the three participant 
groups mentioned above as well as support from the literature and predictor variables. 

1 . Appropriate assessment tests for ESL students including psychological tests 

2. Formalized assessment processes for ESL students 

3. Standards for teaching requirements for teachers of ESL students 

4. Collaborative research agenda with universities 

5. Standardized program guidelines for ESL including junior high 

6. Equitable support for all ESL students (those integrated into mainstream classes as 
well as those in segregated programs such as the Kanadier program) 

7. Development of support programs for parents and students to work on at home 

8. Revised funding structure for ESL relative to student need 

9. Increased funding support for ESL (hiring of trained teachers and assistants, 
psychological assessment of ESL students, full-time ESL designated teachers, 
teacher training/professional development) 

10. Maintained support for ESL students after they leave segregated ESL programs 

1 1 . Creation of a research and development team within the Ministry of Alberta 
Education 

12. Collaboration with universities to offer more ESL programs in teacher education 
programs 

13. Support for a cross-ministerial response to address the needs of ESL students 

14. Increased parent involvement/voice in schools 

15. Support for information sharing across jurisdictions 

16. Maintained communication between Reception Centres and schools 

17. Development of assessment processes for ESL students with learning disabilities 

18. Effort to reduce attrition of ESL students 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Assessment and Diagnostics 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Support 
Indicated in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


^ T 


Identify appropriate assessment tests for 
ESL students 


Alberta Education 


V 


V 


V V 


Identify ESL students through formalized 
assessment processes 


Jurisdictions & Schools 


V 


V 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Programs 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Support 
Indicated in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 




Re-examine age-based placement of ESL 
students to address those students who 
slip through the cracks 


Jurisdiction 




NA 


V V 


Revisit requirements for high school 
completion for ESL students 


Alberta Education 




NA 


V 


Explore alternatives to age-based 
assessment 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V V 


Revise age-based requirement for ESL 
students pursuing adult education (that is, 
eliminate 1 year out of school 
requirement) 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V 


Revise coding of ESL students with 
special needs 


Alberta Education 


NA 


V 


V 


Require Boards to be more accountable 
for student achievement 


Alberta Education 


NA 


V 


V 


Set standards for teaching requirements 
for teachers of ESL students 


Alberta Education 


V 


V 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Programs 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Support 
Indicated in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


^ T 


Re-examine provisions for PATs (i.e., 
provide more time for writing) 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V 


Ensure consistent application of 
accommodations for PATs 


Alberta Education & 
Schools 


NA 


NA 


V 


Provide support for schools to continue 
IPPs for ESL students 


Alberta Education 


V 


NA 


V 


Track early leavers 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V 


Revisit recommendations in Learning 
Commission’s Report 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V 


Work with universities to develop a 
collaborative research agenda for ESL 
(e.g., to explore the influence of gender 
and family pressure on early leaving; the 
influence of various teaching strategies on 
achievement of ESL students) 


Alberta Education 


V 


V 


V 


Support exploration of different models of 
delivery 


Alberta Education 


Available 


Available 


V V 


Develop standardized ESL curriculum 
(e.g., for junior high) 




V 


V 


V 


Modify curriculum for grade 9 


School 




NA 


V 


Develop programs in art and music for 
Aboriginal ESL students at high school 
level to keep them in school 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V 


Tailor academically-focused and trades- 
focused programs for ESL students 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V V 


Maintain program for Kanadier (Mexican 
Mennonite) including Liaison Worker to 
encourage enrolment 


Jurisdiction 


NA 


NA 


V 


Create district sites for ESL 


Jurisdiction 






V 


Offer high German option 


School 


V 


NA 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Programs 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Support 
Indicated in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


V 


Continue to support dual track 
programming (German and English) 


School 


V 


NA 


V 


Provide equitable support for both 
Kanadier and integrated ESL students 


School 


V 


V 


V 


Support pull-out programs for ESL 
students in elementary (northern school) 


School 






V 


Develop support programs for 
parents/students to work on at home 
(northern school) 


School 


V 


V 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Resources 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Support 
Indicated in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


V V V 


Change funding structure for ESL (i.e., 
revisit 5-year funding cap; allow for 
intermittent re-coding to accommodate 
students who plateau; consider March 1 
as cut-off date rather than Sept 30) 


Alberta Education & 
Jurisdiction 


V 


V 


V V 


Provide increased funding for ESL: 

• extend living allowance support upon 
arrival 


AE 


V 


V 


V V 


• preschool/kindergarten for socially 
disadvantaged ESL students 


AE 


NA 


NA 


V V 


• pre-literacy and transition programs 


AE 


V 


NA 




• psychological assessment 


AE 






V 


• academic incentives 


AE 


NA 


NA 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Resources 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Support 
Indicated in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


7 


• increased financial support to 
jurisdictions with large numbers of ESL 
student 


AE, Jurisdictions 


V 




"7 7 7 


• technology 


AE, Jurisdictions 


NA 


NA 


"7 a7 7 


• resources linked to curriculum 


AE, Jurisdictions 


V 


NA 


V V 


• hire readers for PATs 


AE 


NA 


NA 


V V 


Cap ESL class sizes at 15 


Jurisdictions, 

School 


NA 


NA 


V V 


Maintain support for ESL students after 
they leave segregated programs 


School 


V 


V 


V V 


Create sheltered ESL classes at each 
level in appropriate spaces 


School 






V 


Establish Daycares in northern Alberta 


Jurisdictions 


NA 


NA 


V V 


Designate schools as ESL schools 


Jurisdictions 






V V 


Create a research and development team 
at Ministry level 


Alberta Education 


V 


V 


V 


Work with other departments in Alberta 
Advanced Education to create additional 
support at universities for ESL students 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V V 


Work with universities to establish ESL as 
a priority area — to offer more courses in 
ESL (multicultural education) 


AE 


V 


V 


V 


Support multi-departmental response to 
address the needs of ESL students (e.g., 
Alberta Health and Wellness) 


Alberta Education 


V 


V 


V 


Work with the federal government to gain 
increased funding support to address 
settlement issues and social development 
issues of newcomers, particularly refugee 
families 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 



82 





K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Resources 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Support 
Indicated in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 




Increase public awareness of the value 
and contributions of immigrants and ESL 
students to this country 


Alberta Education 


V 


NA 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Professional/Para-professional Assistance for Optimizing Achievement of ESL Students 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


V V V 


Provide increased funding for ESL: 

• hire trained staff (teachers & assistants) 


Alberta Education, 

Jurisdictions 

School 


V 


V 


V V 


• maintain continuity in ESL teaching 
staff 


School 


NA 


NA 


V V 


• continue to fund full-time ESL 
designate teacher 


School 


V 


V 


V V 


• fund teacher collaboration 


School 


NA 


NA 


v/ v/ 


• teacher training (e.g., CBE 
Benchmarks) 


Alberta Education, 
Jurisdictions, School 


V 


V 


"7 7 7 


• teacher professional development 


Alberta Education, 
Jurisdictions 


V 


V 


V V 


Hire more ESL specialists 


Alberta Education, 


V 


V 


V 


Collaborate with universities to create 
practica in ESL 


Jurisdictions 


NA 


NA 


V 


Increase teacher awareness of 
accommodations for PATs 


Alberta Education, 


NA 


NA 


V 


Provide professional development on 
specific cultures (e.g., Mexican 
Mennonite) 


Jurisdictions 


V 


V 



83 





K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Professional/Para-professional Assistance for Optimizing Achievement of ESL Students 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


^ T 


Provide training for teachers and ESL 
assistants 


Jurisdictions 


V 


V 


V V 


Provide PD during school hours 


Jurisdictions 


NA 


NA 


V 


Hire parent paraprofessionals who speak 
the language (e.g., low German) 


School 


NA 


NA 


V V 


Continue to wok on 
encouraging/increasing parent 
involvement 


School 


V 


V 


V 


Dedicate surplus funds to teacher 
assistants 


School 


NA 


NA 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Data Requirements at School, Jurisdiction and Ministry Levels to Facilitate Assessment of the 
Relationship Between PAT and English Language Proficiency (Benchmarking Purposes) 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


V V 


Support sharing across jurisdictions 


Alberta Education, 


V 


V 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Diagnostic Assessment 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 


V T 


It is important for Reception Centres to 
maintain communication with schools to 
whom students are placed 


Jurisdictions 


V 


V 



84 







K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Diagnostic Assessment 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor Variable(s) 




Develop assessment processes for 
ESL students with learning disabilities 


Alberta Education 


V 


V 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Cross-cultural Sensitivity 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor 
Variable(s) 


V V V 


Create a mechanism for parents of ESL 
students to have a voice in schools 


Jurisdictions 


V 


V 


v/ 7 T 


Promote and build awareness among 
teachers and community of needs of 
ESL students and their families 


Jurisdictions 


V 


NA 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Psychological Impact of Pre-migration or Migration Experiences Such as Post-Traumatic Stress 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor 
Variable(s) 




Psychological testing 


Jurisdictions 


V 


NA 


V 


Identify appropriate tools for 
psychological assessment 


School 


V 


V 



Source of 
Recommendation 



Increase in Refugees 



85 








K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor 
Variable(s) 


7 V 


Psychological testing 


Jurisdiction 


V 


NA 


V V 


Develop strategies to increase parent 
involvement 


School 


V 


NA 



Source of 
Recommendation 


Learners with Limited Literacy and Formal Schooling 


Stakeholders 
/ Experts 


Case Study 
Participants 


Survey 

(Principals) 


Recommended Action 


Who Should Be 
Responsible 


Supported in 
the Literature 


Supported by 
Predictor 
Variable(s) 




Address home schooling of ESL 
students in southern Alberta 


Alberta Education 


NA 


NA 


V V 


Develop strategies to increase parent 
involvement 


School 


V 


V 


V V 


Work to reduce attrition of ESL students 


School 


V 


V 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



CONSULTANT RECOMMENDATIONS 



Howard Research makes the following recommendations: 



RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALBERTA EDUCATION 



Recommendation #1 - Re-examine the current funding structure for K-12 ESL. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analyses conducted in this study indicate that the longer it has been since funding 
for ESL students has been terminated, the less likely they are to remain in the Alberta 
Education school system and at grade level if they are still in the school system. ESL 
students do not complete Provincial Achievement Tests with the same frequency or level of 
success as their English-proficient peers. Data from case studies and experts/stakeholders 
indicate that ESL students who enter the system at junior and senior high ages experience 
significant challenges to learning English and completing diploma requirements within the 
five-year window of additional funding support. Data from the predictive analyses also 
suggest that those students with limited first language proficiency, special needs, lower 
English proficiency levels, or having refugee status may require additional ESL instructional 
supports. 

A more flexible approach needs to be developed to determine appropriate level of funding to 
match level of proficiency in English that also takes into account other influencing factors 
such as socioeconomic status, years of prior formal schooling, and proficiency in first 
language. 

Note: Recommendation #1 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #6, #8 and #10. 



Recommendation #2 - Develop a recommended list of diagnostic and assessment 
instruments appropriate for use with K-12 ESL students to improve consistency and 
standardization in assessing, interpreting and reporting test results. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analyses findings indicate that Schools that report using high quality English 
proficiency diagnostic and assessment tests, along with comprehensive tracking processes, 
have ESL students who demonstrate greater gains in academic achievement. A 
recommended list of diagnostic and assessment instruments would help to achieve accurate 
and consistent placement of ESL students across jurisdictions. To facilitate determination of 
the impact of various instructional strategies on achievement of ESL students, a core set of 
information needs to be collected uniformly overtime — preferably electronically. 

Data collected in this study indicate great variability with respect to tools and processes 
used to assess English proficiency of ESL students as well as in the type and depth of 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



information collected on ESL students. A general gap in quality instruments normed on 
Alberta students is reported. 

Note: Recommendation #2 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #1, #2, #15 and 
#17. 



Recommendation #3 - Develop K-12 ESL proficiency standards and guidelines for 
instructional strategies articulated with the Alberta Program of Studies. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analyses findings from this study indicate that schools that report using structured 
methods of instruction for ESL students have ESL students who demonstrate greater gains 
in academic achievement. Few schools reported having comprehensive plans for ESL 
instruction. Case study schools, experts and stakeholders reported concern about lack of a 
province-wide curriculum for K-12 ESL. Junior high is seen as a particular gap. 

Foundational and seminal work in ESL is underway in some school jurisdictions with respect 
to ESL instruction and benchmarking student progress. Alberta Education and school 
jurisdictions could build on this existing work to develop guidelines and suggested 
approaches and strategies for ESL instruction that are articulated across grade levels and 
linked to the Alberta Program of Studies. Resource support for development and 
implementation of the guidelines will be required at both provincial and jurisdictional levels. 

Note: Recommendation #3 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #5. This 
recommendation is also supported by Alberta’s Commission on Learning recommendation 
#52: Create provincial proficiency standards for assessing ESL students, students who are 
not proficient in English, and French language upgrading students, and provide funding until 
students reach the standard. 



RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOL JURISDICTIONS 



Recommendation #4 - Ensure that K-12 ESL students have sufficient support and 
time to learn English and subject matter content. 

Rationale: 

Previous research indicates that 5 to 7 years are required for ESL students to gain full 
proficiency in English. While conversational English can be learned fairly quickly, it takes 
much longer to learn cognitive skills. If a single model of instruction is used, an integrated 
model appears most supportive of ESL student achievement in English and math. Sheltered 
models appear inappropriate at the elementary level and may lead to deterioration in math. 
At the junior high level, pull-out models appear to lead to improvement in English but 
deterioration in math, while in-class support models appear to lead to improvement in math 
but deterioration in English. 

Previous research also indicates that instruction in the ESL student’s first language (LI) 
supports acquisition of the second language (L2). In order for a student whose first language 
is English to gain proficiency in a second language, 1 .5 to 4.5 hours of instruction per week 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



are required (doubling that amount if advanced proficiency is desired). ESL students in 
Alberta schools could benefit from instruction in their first language. However, introducing 
the range of first languages of ESL students into the school day would have significant 
impact on resources and timetabling. Elongating the school day to provide more time for 
students to learn both English and subject matter content would likely have similar impact. 
Therefore, other alternatives need to be explored such as classes for ESL students held 
during the summer months or weekends. Jurisdictions should also explore ways in which 
they could work more closely with community-based agencies and organizations to create 
formal and informal opportunities for ESL students to learn and maintain their first language 
in environments that support their interaction with age peers and adults beyond their own 
immediate families. 

Note: Recommendations #4 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #6, #8 and #10. 



Recommendation #5 - Provide more professional development opportunities for 
practicing teachers and teacher assistants. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analysis findings from this study indicate that a positive relationship exists 
between more highly qualified and trained staff and improvements in achievement in ESL 
students. Research also supports this finding. Currently, schools report that 64% of 
mainstream teachers who teach ESL students have no training in ESL. Only 14% of schools 
reported that ESL designated teachers have a diploma, certificate or degree in ESL. 

Professional development programs for practicing teachers and teacher assistants need to 
be developed in collaboration with universities, colleges, and training institutes to develop a 
comprehensive and articulated in-service program that leads to certification in ESL (e.g., 
second language acquisition, cultural competence, diagnosis and assessment). Professional 
development opportunities need to be made affordable and accessible to practicing 
teachers and teacher assistants. Options for electronic delivery and self-study should be 
explored. Incentives to encourage teachers to engage in ESL professional development 
opportunities should be explored (e.g., bursaries). 

Note: Recommendation #5 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #9 and #3. 



RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOL JURISDICTIONS 



Recommendation #6 - Create more opportunities for inclusion of K-12 ESL-related 
courses in teacher education programs and increase placement opportunities for 
student teachers in schools with large numbers of ESL students. 

Rationale: 

Predictive analysis findings from this study indicate that a positive relationship exists 
between more highly qualified and trained staff and improvements in academic achievement 
by ESL students. Research also supports this finding. Data from case studies and 
experts/stakeholders indicate that pre-service teachers are limited in the number and 
breadth of ESL-related courses that can be included in their undergraduate programs. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Further, data indicate that schools with large numbers of ESL students are reluctant to take 
on the responsibility of student teachers given the added burden on ESL teachers. 

To address the shortage of teachers who are skilled and qualified in ESL, universities and 
school jurisdictions should engage in discussions with Alberta Education and Advanced 
Education and possibly other Ministries to examine the creation of appropriate programs 
and possibly additional placement opportunities for undergraduate students who are 
interested in pursuing programs in ESL. This would align with the province’s strategy of 
supporting immigrants and immigration to Alberta. 

Additionally, incentives may need to be developed for schools with large numbers of ESL 
students to accommodate student teachers and, with the university, derive mutual benefit 
from that involvement. 

Note: Recommendation #6 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #3 and #12. 

Recommendation #7 - Develop a research agenda that addresses priority questions 
and issues related to K-12 ESL in Alberta. 

Rationale: 

Data from this study indicate that Canadian-born ESL students are not achieving as well as 
foreign-born ESL students. This situation is untenable for Alberta and for Canada. Further 
research needs to be conducted to understand why Canadian-born ESL students are 
achieving at lower levels than their foreign-born counterparts, and why they are leaving the 
system earlier. 

Currently, no schools report following ESL students who leave school early. Alberta-based 
research provides some insight into reasons for early leaving. This and other important 
questions need to be addressed and may form a research agenda that could also include, 
for example: 

• Comparison of various instructional strategies across jurisdictions linked to 
achievement of ESL students; 

• Development of diagnostic and assessment tools and processes normed on Alberta 
students; 

• Identification of diagnostic and assessment tools and processes for ESL students 
with special needs; and 

• Longitudinal tracking of ESL high school completions, post-secondary completion 
and employment levels. 

Note: Recommendation #7 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendations #4 and #11. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EDUCATION AND ADVANCED EDUCATION 



Recommendation #8 - Explore transition options for ESL students to complete high 
school requirements. 

Rationale: 

Many ESL students require an additional year(s) beyond the age of 20 to complete diploma 
requirements. Consideration should be given to creating a mechanism that supports 
continuous enrolment of ESL students in a high school or post-secondary setting to allow 
them time to complete high school and to avoid the current year-long wait ESL students 
experience as they transition from high school to post-secondary institutions. 

Note: Recommendation #8 is supported by Study Participants’ Recommendation #13. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Appendix A 



92 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



ESL STUDENT TYPE 

Funding for Alberta Education has established three codes, 301, 302 and 303. According to 
the 2005-2006 Funding Manual for School Authorities the following definitions are used: 

301 - Foreign-born funded ESL students 
303 - Canadian-born funded ESL students 

302 - Non-funded ESL students 

ESL student type (code 301- Foreign-born funded, code 302 Non-funded, code 303 
Canadian-born funded) was identified through a historical analysis of each student’s codes 
over the years of available data. Students who were identified as any of the three student 
types at any time over their academic career were considered ESL students for all predictive 
analyses. In the case of inconsistent coding (i.e., an ESL student being coded as both a 
code 301 and a code 303 in different years) the most frequently used code was applied to 
identify the ESL student type 20 . An overall description of the ESL student types and 
comparisons to non-ESL students are provided in Tables 34 through 37 to provide an 
overall context from which to interpret the results and establish how ESL students in Alberta 
fair in comparison to the non-ESL student population. 

In general, these tables indicate that non-ESL students tend to maintain enrolment in the 
system, maintain enrolment at grade level, complete PATs, and achieve at higher levels 
than ESL students at most grade levels. In addition, foreign-born ESL students (coded 301) 
tend to have greater success in terms of these outcomes than Canadian born ESL students 
(coded 301 ). Non-funded ESL students appear to be at the greatest disadvantage at being 
maintained in the Alberta Education system and at grade level. 



20 The percentage of ESL students with inconsistent coding was 3.7%, 6.5%, 5.0% and 2.7% for grade cohorts 3, 6, 9, and 12 
respectively. 



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K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 34. ESL and Non-ESL Student Outcome Profiles: Grade 3 Cohort 





ESL Status 


Sic 


nificant Differences 




ESL 301 


ESL 303 


301 or 303 


ESL 302 


No ESL Status 


301 


303 


302 


Non- 

ESL 




N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


(A) 


(B) 


(C) 


(D) 


Maintained Enrolment to 2003/04 


Alberta System 


1,270 


96.6% 


3,128 


97.3% 


4,398 


97.1% 


36 


100.0% 


36,262 


96.6% 










At Grade Level 


1,270 


90.7% 


3,128 


83.5% 


4,398 


85.6% 


36 


83.3% 


36,262 


86.9% 


B D 






B 


PAT Writing Status: PAT Completion Rates (Grade 3's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,152 


84.8% 


2,611 


89.5% 


3,763 


88.1% 


30 


76.7% 


31,512 


91.0% 




A 




AC 


Math 


1,152 


85.4% 


2,611 


89.7% 


3,763 


88.4% 


30 


76.7% 


31,512 


91.5% 




A 




AB 

C 


PAT Achievement Scores: Writers Only (Grade 3's 03/04 only) 


English 


977 


66.78 


2,337 


64.35 


3,314 


65.07 


23 


63.74 


28,685 


70.50 


B 






AB 


Math 


984 


74.48 


2,341 


69.55 


3,325 


71.01 


23 


75.47 


28,832 


76.98 


B 






AB 


PAT Achievement Scores: Writers Only - Deviation from Non-ESL Students (Grade 3's 03/04 only) 


English 


977 


-3.72 


2,337 


-6.15 


3,314 


-5.44 


23 


-6.76 


28,685 


0.00 


B 






AB 


Math 


984 


-2.50 


2,341 


-7.43 


3,325 


-5.97 


23 


-1.51 


28,832 


0.00 


B 






AB 


PAT Achievement Standard Acceptable and 


Excellence : Writers Only (Grade 3's 03/04 only) 






English 


977 


86.4% 


2,337 


81.9% 


3,314 


83.2% 


23 


78.3% 


28,685 


91.5% 


B 






AB 


Math 


984 


87.1% 


2,341 


81.6% 


3,325 


83.2% 


23 


91.3% 


28,832 


90.4% 


B 






AB 


PAT Excellence Standard: Writers Only (Grade 3's 03/04 only) 


English 


977 


12.0% 


2,337 


9.0% 


3,314 


9.9% 


23 


13.0% 


28,685 


17.5% 








AB 


Math 


984 


29.0% 


2,341 


19.3% 


3,325 


22.2% 


23 


26.1% 


28,832 


31.1% 


B 






B 



Note: Results are based on two-sided tests assuming equal variances with significance level 0.05. For each significant pair, the key of the smaller 
category appears under the category with larger mean. Tests are adjusted for all pairwise comparisons within using the Bonferroni correction. 



94 




K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 35. ESL and Non-ESL Student Outcome Profiles: Grade 6 Cohort 





ESL Status 


Sic 


inificant Differences 






























Non- 




| ESL 301 | 


ESL 303 | 


301 or 303 | 


ESL 302 | 


No ESL Status 


301 


303 


302 


ESL 




N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


(A) 


(B) 


(C) 


(D) 


Maintained Enrolment to 2003/04 (Grade 9's 03/04 only) 


Alberta System 


1,572 


93.2% 


2,464 


96.7% 


4,036 


95.3% 


26 


96.2% 


37,285 


95.8% 




A 




A 


At Grade Level 
































1,572 


89.8% 


2,464 


90.4% 


4,036 


90.2% 


26 


76.9% 


37,285 


93.6% 




C 




C 


PAT Writing Status: PAT Completion Rates (Grade 6's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,411 


88.1% 


2,228 


87.3% 


3,639 


87.6% 


20 


90.0% 


34,913 


91.1% 








AB 


Math 


1,411 


87.7% 


2,228 


86.7% 


3,639 


87.1% 


20 


85.0% 


34,913 


90.5% 








AB 


Science 


1,411 


88.7% 


2,228 


86.1% 


3,639 


87.1% 


20 


90.0% 


34,913 


91.1% 








AB 


Social Studies 


1,411 


88.5% 


2,228 


86.0% 


3,639 


87.0% 


20 


90.0% 


34,913 


91.0% 








AB 


PAT Achievement Scores: Writers Only (Grade 6's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,243 


65.12 


1,944 


60.83 


3,187 


62.50 


18 


66.50 


31,795 


68.92 


B 






AB 


Math 


1,237 


72.09 


1,931 


65.05 


3,168 


67.80 


17 


69.94 


31,606 


71.57 


B 






B 


Science 


1,251 


65.34 


1,918 


59.05 


3,169 


61.53 


18 


64.11 


31,822 


68.20 


B 






AB 


Social Studies 


1,249 


67.00 


1,916 


59.98 


3,165 


62.75 


18 


66.89 


31,760 


68.97 


B 






AB 


PAT Achievement Scores: Writers Only - Deviation from Non-ESL Students (Grade 6's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,243 


-3.80 


1,944 


-8.09 


3,187 


-6.42 


18 


-2.42 


31,795 


0.00 


B 






AB 


Math 


1,237 


0.52 


1,931 


-6.52 


3,168 


-3.77 


17 


-1.63 


31,606 


0.00 


B 






B 


Science 


1,251 


-2.87 


1,918 


-9.15 


3,169 


-6.67 


18 


-4.09 


31,822 


0.00 


B 






AB 


Social Studies 


1,249 


-1.97 


1,916 


-8.99 


3,165 


-6.22 


18 


-2.08 


31,760 


0.00 


B 






AB 


PAT Achievement Standard Acceptable and 


Excellence : Writers Only (Grade 6's 03/04 only) 






English 


1,243 


79.5% 


1,944 


72.3% 


3,187 


75.1% 


18 


83.3% 


31,795 


88.3% 


B 






AB 


Math 


1,237 


85.0% 


1,931 


77.8% 


3,168 


80.6% 


17 


82.4% 


31,603 


87.0% 


B 






B 


Science 


1,251 


84.5% 


1,918 


76.8% 


3,169 


79.8% 


18 


77.8% 


31,820 


89.7% 


B 






AB 


Social Studies 


1,249 


85.6% 


1,916 


74.2% 


3,165 


78.7% 


18 


94.4% 


31,760 


87.8% 


B 






B 


PAT Excellence Standard: Writers Only (Grade 6's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,243 


13.8% 


1,944 


6.9% 


3,187 


9.6% 


18 


16.7% 


31,795 


17.5% 


B 






AB 


Math 


1,237 


28.8% 


1,931 


15.4% 


3,168 


20.6% 


17 


35.3% 


31,603 


23.4% 


B D 






B 


Science 


1,251 


27.3% 


1,918 


14.7% 


3,169 


19.7% 


18 


16.7% 


31,820 


30.3% 


B 






B 


Social Studies 


1,249 


18.7% 


1,916 


10.7% 


3,165 


13.8% 


18 


27.8% 


31,760 


23.2% 


B 






AB 





ote: Results are based on two-sided tests assuming equal variances with significance level 0.05. For each significant pair, the key of the smaller 
category appears under the category with larger mean. Tests are adjusted for all pairwise comparisons using the Bonferroni correction. 



95 





K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 36. ESL and Non-ESL Student Outcome Profiles: Grade 9 Cohort 





ESL Status 


Sic 


inificant Differences 






























Non- 




| ESL 301 | 


ESL 303 | 


301 or 303 | 


ESL 302 


Non- ESL Status | 


301 


303 


302 


ESL 




N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


(A) 


(B) 


(C) 


(D) 


Maintained Enrolment to 2003/04 (Grade 9's 03/04 only) 


Alberta System 




























A B 




2,361 


86.9% 


2,024 


86.1% 


4,385 


86.5% 


113 


76.1% 


44,941 


91.3% 


c 


c 




C 


At Grade Level 
































2,361 


77.6% 


2,024 


58.9% 


4,385 


69.0% 


113 


69.9% 


44,941 


81.0% 


B 




B 


A B 
C 


PAT Writing Status: PAT Completion Rates 


(Grade 9's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,832 


83.8% 


1,192 


69.6% 


3,024 


78.2% 


79 


86.1% 


36,399 


86.2% 


B 




B 


AB 


Math 


1,832 


86.2% 


1,192 


68.8% 


3,024 


79.4% 


79 


84.8% 


36,399 


86.0% 


B 




B 


B 


Science 


1,832 


85.1% 


1,192 


68.5% 


3,024 


78.5% 


79 


84.8% 


36,399 


86.8% 


B 




B 


B 


Social Studies 


1,832 


85.6% 


1,192 


69.3% 


3,024 


79.2% 


79 


84.8% 


36,399 


87.5% 


B 




B 


B 


PAT Achievement Scores: Writers Only (Grade 9's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,536 


64.29 


830 


58.51 


2,366 


62.26 


68 


66.43 


31,380 


67.46 


B 




B 


AB 


Math 


1,580 


71.74 


820 


59.94 


2,400 


67.71 


67 


69.76 


31,299 


67.46 


B D 




B 


B 


Science 


1,559 


67.94 


816 


57.45 


2,375 


64.33 


67 


66.78 


31,589 


67.26 


B 




B 


B 


Social Studies 


1,568 


65.79 


826 


55.94 


2,394 


62.39 


67 


66.46 


31,833 


66.31 


B 




B 


B 


PAT Achievement Scores: Writers Only - Deviation from Non-ESL Students (Grade 9's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,536 


-3.17 


830 


-8.94 


2,366 


-5.19 


68 


-1.03 


31,380 


0.00 


B 




B 


AB 


Math 


1,580 


4.28 


820 


-7.52 


2,400 


0.25 


67 


2.30 


31,299 


0.00 


B D 




B 


B 


Science 


1,559 


0.68 


816 


-9.81 


2,375 


-2.92 


67 


-0.47 


31,589 


0.00 


B 




B 


B 


Social Studies 


1,568 


-0.52 


826 


-10.37 


2,394 


-3.92 


67 


0.15 


31,833 


0.00 


B 




B 


B 


PAT Achievement Standard Acceptable and Excellence : 


Writers Only (Grade 9's 03/04 only) 






English 


1,536 


83.7% 


830 


73.5% 


2,366 


0.80 


68 


89.7% 


31,380 


89.0% 


B 




B 


AB 


Math 


1,580 


77.7% 


820 


60.6% 


2,400 


0.72 


67 


76.1% 


31,299 


74.6% 


B D 




B 


B 


Science 


1,559 


73.6% 


816 


55.0% 


2,375 


0.67 


67 


76.1% 


31,589 


75.2% 


B 




B 


B 


Social Studies 


1,568 


81 .6% 


826 


65.5% 


2,394 


0.76 


67 


82.1% 


31,833 


82.7% 


B 




B 


B 


PAT Excellence Standard: Writers Only (Grade 9's 03/04 only) 


English 


1,536 


8.5% 


830 


2.2% 


2,366 


6.3% 


68 


10.3% 


31,380 


13.7% 


B 






AB 


Math 


1,580 


32.2% 


820 


12.9% 


2,400 


25.6% 


67 


25.4% 


31,299 


20.2% 


B D 






B 


Science 


1,559 


18.5% 


816 


6.5% 


2,375 


14.4% 


67 


10.4% 


31,589 


13.5% 


B D 






B 


Social Studies 


1,568 


22.1% 


826 


9.8% 


2,394 


17.8% 


67 


23.9% 


31,833 


23.0% 


B 




B 


B 



Note: Results are based on two-sided tests assuming equal variances with significance level 0.05. For each significant pair, the key of the smaller 
category appears under the category with larger mean. Tests are adjusted for all pairwise comparisons using the Bonferroni correction. 



96 










K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 37. ESL and Non-ESL Student Outcome Profiles: Grade 12 Cohort 





ESL Status 


Significant Differences 




ESL 301 


ESL 303 


301 or 303 


ESL 302 


No ESL Status 


301 


303 


302 


Non- 

ESL 




N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


(A) 


(B) 


(C) 


(D) 


Maintained Enrolment to 2003/04 


Alberta System 


2,740 


87.9% 


1,418 


64.7% 


4,158 


80.0% 


248 


52.8% 


60,671 


83.6% 


B C 
D 


c 




B C 


At Grade Level 


2,740 


83.9% 


1,418 


43.0% 


4,158 


70.0% 


248 


47.6% 


60,671 


76.6% 


B C 
D 






BC 


Matriculation Course Completion Rate (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 


ELA 30 _1 


2,299 


37.1% 


610 


32.3% 


2,909 


36.1% 


118 


39.8% 


46,480 


44.3% 








AB 


Pure Math 30 


2,299 


42.7% 


610 


27.4% 


2,909 


39.5% 


118 


33.9% 


46,480 


37.2% 


B D 






B 


Biology 30 


2,299 


27.8% 


610 


26.9% 


2,909 


27.6% 


118 


35.6% 


46,480 


39.3% 








AB 


Chemistry 30 


2,299 


36.6% 


610 


23.6% 


2,909 


33.9% 


118 


31.4% 


46,480 


32.1% 


B D 






B 


Physics 30 


2,299 


26.5% 


610 


15.9% 


2,909 


24.3% 


118 


25.4% 


46,480 


19.6% 


B D 








Social Studies 30 


2,299 


31 .2% 


610 


29.8% 


2,909 


30.9% 


118 


39.8% 


46,480 


47.7% 








AB 


Matriculation Course School Scores: Completers Only (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 


ELA 30 _1 


843 


68.35 


196 


67.06 


1,039 


68.10 


47 


70.38 


20,518 


71.66 








AB 


Pure Math 30 


977 


72.60 


167 


70.66 


1,144 


72.32 


40 


71.15 


17,284 


70.52 


D 








Biology 30 


639 


69.85 


164 


68.13 


803 


69.50 


42 


71.05 


18,211 


70.48 










Chemistry 30 


839 


69.73 


144 


70.97 


983 


69.91 


37 


69.14 


14,918 


70.34 










Physics 30 


607 


72.17 


97 


71.32 


704 


72.05 


30 


68.13 


9,097 


72.51 










Social Studies 30 


717 


68.99 


182 


68.38 


899 


68.87 


47 


67.23 


22,127 


70.43 








A 


Matriculation Course School Scores 


Deviation from Non-ESL Students (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 




ELA 30_1 


843 


-3.31 


196 


-4.60 


1,039 


-3.55 


47 


-1.27 


20,518 


0.00 








AB 


Pure Math 30 


977 


2.08 


167 


0.14 


1,144 


1.80 


40 


0.63 


17,284 


0.00 


D 








Biology 30 


639 


-0.62 


164 


-2.34 


803 


-0.98 


42 


0.57 


18,211 


0.00 










Chemistry 30 


839 


-0.61 


144 


0.63 


983 


-0.43 


37 


-1.20 


14,918 


0.00 










Physics 30 


607 


-0.34 


97 


-1.19 


704 


-0.46 


30 


-4.37 


9,097 


0.00 










Social Studies 30 


717 


-1.44 


182 


-2.05 


899 


-1.57 


47 


-3.20 


22,127 


0.00 








A 


DE Matriculation Course Achievement Scores: Completers only (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 


ELA 30 _1 


852 


58.96 


197 


59.27 


1,049 


59.01 


47 


61.72 


20,555 


68.21 








AB 

C 


Pure Math 30 


978 


68.70 


166 


66.87 


1,144 


68.43 


40 


63.38 


17,236 


67.44 










Biology 30 


638 


61.99 


163 


59.18 


801 


61.42 


42 


65.00 


18,166 


65.05 








AB 


Chemistry 30 


840 


64.95 


144 


66.98 


984 


65.24 


37 


63.86 


14,878 


66.55 








A 


Physics 30 


609 


65.53 


97 


64.91 


706 


65.45 


30 


59.50 


9,084 


67.23 










Social Studies 30 


717 


63.17 


182 


59.59 


899 


62.45 


47 


63.55 


22,092 


66.13 


B 






AB 


DE Matriculation Course Achievement Scores: Deviation from Non-ESL Students (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 


ELA 30_1 


852 


-9.25 


197 


-8.94 


1,049 


-9.19 


47 


-6.48 


20,555 


0.00 








AB 

C 


Pure Math 30 


978 


1.26 


166 


-0.56 


1,144 


0.99 


40 


-4.06 


17,236 


0.00 










Biology 30 


638 


-3.06 


163 


-5.87 


801 


-3.63 


42 


-0.05 


18,166 


0.00 








AB 


Chemistry 30 


840 


-1.60 


144 


0.43 


984 


-1.31 


37 


-2.69 


14,878 


0.00 








A 


Physics 30 


609 


-1.70 


97 


-2.33 


706 


-1.79 


30 


-7.73 


9,084 


0.00 










Social Studies 30 


717 


-2.95 


182 


-6.53 


899 


-3.68 


47 


-2.57 


22,092 


0.00 


B 






AB 



Note: Results are based on two-sided tests assuming equal variances with significance level 0.05. For each significant pair, the key of the smaller 
category appears under the category with larger mean. Tests are adjusted for all pairwise comparisons using the Bonferroni correction. 



97 










K-12 ESL Implementation Review 



Table 37. ESL and Non-ESL Student Outcome Profiles (Continued): Grade 12 Cohort 













ESL Status 










Significant Differences 






























Non- 




ESL 301 


ESL 303 


301 or 303 


ESL 302 


No ESL Status 


301 


303 


302 


ESL 




N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


N 


Mean/% 


(A) 


(B) 


(C) 


(D) 


Matriculation Course Total Scores: Deviation from Non-ESL Students (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 


ELA 30 _1 


841 


64.17 


196 


63.74 


1,037 


64.09 


47 


66.77 


20,491 


70.29 








AB 


Pure Math 30 


976 


71.19 


166 


69.05 


1,142 


70.88 


40 


67.53 


17,228 


69.34 


D 








Biology 30 k 


637 


66.28 


163 


64.05 


800 


65.83 


42 


68.33 


18,174 


68.11 








AB 


Chemistry 30 


838 


67.89 


144 


69.38 


982 


68.11 


37 


67.00 


14,874 


68.79 










Physics 30 


607 


69.24 


97 


68.51 


704 


69.13 


30 


64.10 


9,085 


70.19 










Social Studies 30 


718 


66.38 


182 


64.30 


900 


65.96 


47 


66.13 


22,082 


68.61 








AB 


Matriculation Course Total Scores: Deviation from Non-ESL Students (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 


ELA 30_1 


841 


- 6.12 


196 


- 6.54 


1,037 


- 6.20 


47 


- 3.52 


20,491 


0.00 








AB 


Pure Math 30 


976 


1.85 


166 


- 0.28 


1,142 


1.54 


40 


- 1.81 


17,228 


0.00 


D 








Biology 30 


637 


- 1.82 


163 


- 4.06 


800 


- 2.28 


42 


0.22 


18,174 


0.00 








AB 


Chemistry 30 


838 


- 0.90 


144 


0.59 


982 


- 0.68 


37 


- 1.79 


14,874 


0.00 










Physics 30 


607 


- 0.95 


97 


- 1.68 


704 


- 1.05 


30 


- 6.09 


9,085 


0.00 










Social Studies 30 


718 


- 2.22 


182 


- 4.30 


900 


- 2.64 


47 


- 2.48 


22,082 


0.00 








AB 


Matriculation Standard Acceptable and Excellence 


Completers Only (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 








ELA 30 _1 


854 


92 . 4 % 


197 


94 . 9 % 


1,051 


92 . 9 % 


47 


97 . 9 % 


20,600 


98 . 4 % 






A 


AB 


Pure Math 30 


981 


90 . 1 % 


167 


87 . 4 % 


1,148 


89 . 7 % 


40 


90 . 0 % 


17,310 


91 . 8 % 










Biology 30 


640 


85 . 5 % 


164 


79 . 3 % 


804 


84 . 2 % 


42 


92 . 9 % 


18,249 


91 . 8 % 






B 


AB 


Chemistry 30 


841 


87 . 9 % 


144 


91 . 7 % 


985 


88 . 4 % 


37 


94 . 6 % 


14,938 


92 . 5 % 








A 


Physics 30 


609 


88 . 7 % 


97 


89 . 7 % 


706 


88 . 8 % 


30 


83 . 3 % 


9,106 


93 . 1 % 








A 


Social Studies 30 


718 


94 . 0 % 


182 


93 . 4 % 


900 


93 . 9 % 


47 


95 . 7 % 


22,157 


96 . 2 % 








A 


Matriculation Standard Excellence : 


Completers Only (Grade 12's 03/04 only) 










ELA 30 _1 


854 


10 . 8 % 


197 


10 . 2 % 


1,051 


10 . 7 % 


47 


17 . 0 % 


20,600 


21 . 8 % 








AB 


Pure Math 30 


981 


35 . 4 % 


167 


29 . 3 % 


1,148 


34 . 5 % 


40 


30 . 0 % 


17,310 


29 . 3 % 


D 








Biology 30 


640 


23 . 3 % 


164 


26 . 2 % 


804 


23 . 9 % 


42 


33 . 3 % 


18,249 


24 . 9 % 










Chemistry 30 


841 


28 . 4 % 


144 


34 . 0 % 


985 


29 . 2 % 


37 


29 . 7 % 


14,938 


26 . 0 % 










Physics 30 


609 


30 . 9 % 


97 


26 . 8 % 


706 


30 . 3 % 


30 


26 . 7 % 


9,106 


29 . 8 % 










Social Studies 30 


718 


16 . 0 % 


182 


13 . 7 % 


900 


15 . 6 % 


47 


23 . 4 % 


22,157 


22 . 2 % 








AB 



Note: Results are based on two-sided tests assuming equal variances with significance level 0.05. For each significant pair, the key of 
the smaller category appears under the category with larger mean. Tests are adjusted for all pairwise comparisons using the 
Bonferroni correction. 



98 






Kindergarten to Grade 12 English as a 
Second Language 
Literature Review 



July 21, 2005 




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K-12 ESL Literature Review 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



TABLE OF CONTENTS I 

LITERATURE REVIEW 1 

Purpose 1 

Search Strategy 1 

Predictors of ESL Achievement 1 

Proficiency in First Language 2 

Proficiency in Second Language 2 

Amount of ESL Instruction 2 

Past Performance 3 

Parental Involvement 3 

Resources/Funding 3 

Individual Differences 3 

Age at Time of Arrival / Length of Residence 3 

Socioeconomic Status 4 

Previous Schooling 4 

Teacher Credentials 4 

Summary 4 

Program Delivery Models 5 

Newcomer Programs 5 

Transition Programs 6 

Integrated Programs/ Mainstreaming 7 

Summary 8 

Teaching Methods 8 

Integrated Language and Content Based Teaching 8 

Corrective Feedback 9 

Interaction / Cooperative Learning 9 

Balanced Literacy 9 

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) 10 

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency 10 

Comprehensible Input 10 

Scaffolding 11 

Mentors 1 1 

Language Experience Approach 11 

First Language Support 12 

Phonemic Awareness 12 

Writing Workshop 13 

Modification 13 

Comprehension Strategies 13 

Realia (Real Life) 13 

Total Physical Response (TPR) 14 

Explicit Instruction 14 

Promoting Diversity 14 

Other Specific Supports 14 

Using Multiple Methods 14 




K-12 ESL Literature Review 



Summary 15 

Leadership 15 

Family and Community Involvement 15 

Opportunities for First Language Development 15 

Support 16 

Collaboration 16 

Reception 16 

Diversity Sensitivity 16 

Professional Development 17 

Summary 17 

Diagnosis and Assessment 17 

Importance of Assessment 17 

Purpose of Assessment 18 

Training in Assessment 18 

Multiple and Authentic Assessments 18 

Alternative Assessments 18 

Sensitive Assessment Measures 19 

Summary 19 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 20 

ADDITIONAL SOURCES 30 




K-12 ESL Literature Review 



LITERATURE REVIEW 



PURPOSE 

The purpose of this review was to examine the current literature (1995-2005) in five thematic 
areas. This included an examination of the predictors of full English as a second language 
(ESL) student achievement, an examination of the evidence regarding the effectiveness of 
various program delivery models, an examination of evidence and best practice suggestions 
for various instructional methods, a review of various dimensions of school leadership 
practices for creating an optimal ESL environment, and a review of best practice 
recommendations in diagnostics and assessment for ESL students. 

SEARCH STRATEGY 

To locate relevant publications ERIC, Psychlnfo, LLBA, and Sociological Abstracts were 
searched. Keywords defining the population (English as a second language, ESL, limited 
English Proficient, LEP, non-English speaking, bilingual, linguistic minorities, immigrants, 
newcomers) were combined with keywords describing skill acquisition (e.g., reading, 
literacy, language acquisition, second language learning, communication), performance 
(e.g., achievement, drop-out, performance), teaching methods (e.g., teaching methods, 
instructional methods, teaching activities), specific teaching approaches (e.g., integrated 
language, corrective feedback, balanced literacy), models of instruction (e.g., models, pull- 
out, sheltered, immersion, transition), assessment (e.g., assessment, diagnostic, 
proficiency) and leadership (e.g., leadership, principal, school practice, best practice). The 
reference lists of relevant retrieved documents were also cross-referenced for additional 
publications. This review is limited to published and grey literature produced between 1995 
and 2005. 

NOTE: For the purposes of this review the following abbreviations are used: 

LI - First Language 
L2 - Second Language 



PREDICTORS OF ESL ACHIEVEMENT 



For the purpose of this review, achievement was operationalized to include both academic 
achievement as assessed in schools or through jurisdictional achievement testing, and 
school drop-out rates. Recent studies indicate that ESL students attain median achievement 
levels at between the 12 th and 45 th percentile depending on the model of instruction 
(Thomas and Collier, 2002) but face high-school drop-out rates that far exceed the average 
of non-ESL students (Derwing et al. , 1999; Fashola, Slavin, & Calderon, 1997; Watt & 
Roessingh, 2001). Similar findings related to the underachievement of L2 ESL students are 
reported in countries such as Sweden (Westin, 2003) and the United States (e.g., 
Gunderson & Clarke, 1998; Wayne & Collier, 2002). 




K-12 ESL Literature Review 



The following predictors of success and achievement for ESL students have been identified 
in the literature. 

Proficiency in First Language 

A comprehensive meta-analytic review of the literature indicates that proficiency in first 
language is a strong predictor of academic success in L2 and in L2 language acquisition 21 . 
These findings are confirmed by others as well (August & Hakuta, 1997, Ernst-Slavit, 1998; 
Thomas & Collier, 1997). It is thought that academic skills, literacy development, concept 
formation, subject knowledge, and learning strategies developed in the first language all 
transfer to the second language (Collier, 1995). There is a growing body of evidence 
supporting cross-language transfer of phonological awareness (August et al. , 2001 ; Cisero 
& Royer, 1995; Gottardo, Yan, Siegel, & Wade-Wolley, 2001; Lindsey, Manis, & Bailey; 
2003) reading errors and fluency (August et al, 2001 ; DaFontoura & Siegel, 2005; Geva, 
Wade-Wolley, & Shaney, 1997), reading comprehension (Jimenez Gonzalez & Haro Garcia, 
1996), letter and word knowledge (Lindsey et al., 2003), print concepts (Lindsey et al., 

2003), and sentence memory (Lindsey et al., 2003). 

It has also been suggested that the acquisition of the first language is associated with ethnic 
self-identification which, in turn, may contribute to academic success (Bankston & Zhou, 
1995). 

Proficiency in Second Language 

In examining educational achievement, it has been found that student’s English proficiency 
at point of entry is a strong predictor of high school drop-out rates (Watt & Roessingh, 

1994a, 1994b, 2001). Research also indicates that those with limited proficiency in English 
are at a greater risk of drop-out than mainstream English students who are in turn at greater 
risk of drop out than fully bilingual students (Rumbaut 1995; Bankston & Zhou, 1995; Wayne 
& Collier, 2002). Watt and Roessingh (2001) describe the successful high-school ESL 
student as having a good educational background and having studied English prior to arrival 
in high school. 

Amount of ESL Instruction 

No studies were identified that have directly examined the relationship between amount of 
ESL instruction and academic achievement of L2 learners. Available research focused 
instead on hours of instruction required for LI English speakers to obtain a certain level of 
proficiency in another language. Archibald et al., (2004) reporting on recommendations put 
out by the Foreign Service Institute, report that the average learner (whose first language is 
English) requires approximately 240 hours of instruction for languages such as French, 
Italian and Spanish and up to 720 hours for languages such as Chinese, Japanese and 
Korean to achieve an intermediate-high proficiency level. Over a three year period, 
assuming a 40-week school period, this corresponds to between 1 .5 to 4.5 hours of 
instruction per week (60 - 1 80 hours per year). An approximate doubling of these amounts 
would be required to achieve advanced levels of proficiency. The variability in recommended 
instruction time is related to linguistic distance, that is, the difference between LI and L2 in 
terms of alphabet, form, syntax and grammatical structure (Walqui, 2000b). 



An extensive review of this early literature is provided by Zhou (1997). 



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It has been estimated that students with limited English language proficiency need two years 
of ESL education to develop interpersonal communication skills and five to seven years to 
develop academic language proficiency (Collier & Thomas, 1999; Roessingh, 2000). 

Evidence also suggests that more intense distribution of instructional hours (e.g., 80 minutes 
a day for five months versus 40 minutes a day for 10 months) may lead to greater reading 
proficiency in French (Lapkin et al., 1998). 

Past Performance 

Research indicates that past academic achievement in L2 is the single most important factor 
in predicting current scholastic performance in L2 (Hardwick & Frideres, 2004). The authors 
suggest that when students first enter a school they must have access to expertise and 
teaching skills that allow them to achieve early success-most important for immigrant youth 
when they first enter the Canadian school system. 

Parental Involvement 

Parental involvement has been found to be an important predictor of educational 
achievement in the general population (Hardwick & Frideres, 2004). While research 
indicates a great deal of variability in familial and community support for recent immigrants 
(Salili & Hoosain, 2001), Hardwick and Frideres suggest that programs designed to involve 
immigrant parents in their children’s school activities and educational programs are very 
important to support their academic achievement. 

Resources/Funding 

Though literature directly linking ESL resource and funding distribution to academic success 
was not identified, some inferences can be drawn. Watt and Roessingh (2001) found that 
while provincial funding cuts did not significantly affect high school dropout rates, they did 
appear to have an impact on drop-out trajectories for intermediate ESL students (e.g., they 
dropped out from the system earlier after the funding cuts than they had before the cuts). 

Individual Differences 

The literature indicates that individual difference variables such as attitude and motivation 
are important in the acquisition of second language proficiency (Clement & Gardner, 2001). 

It has been found that attitudes about a particular language (Tremblay & Gardner, 1995; 
Noels, Clement, & Pelletier, 1999; Gardner, Tremblay, & Masgoret, 1997) and self- 
confidence (Tremblay & Gardner, 1995) are important pre-cursers to motivation to learn 
(Tremblay & Gardner, 1995; Noels, Clement, & Pelletier, 1999; Gardner, Tremblay, & 
Masgoret, 1 997) and that this motivation is, in turn, an important predictor of success 
(Tremblay & Gardner, 1995; Noels, Clement, & Pelletier, 1999; Gardner, Tremblay, & 
Masgoret, 1997). Experiencing success is found to further influence feelings of self- 
confidence (Noels, Clement, & Pelletier, 1999; Gardner, Tremblay, & Masgoret, 1997). 

Age at Time of Arrival / Length of Residence 

Review of the literature in the early 1990’s indicated that older children learn a new 
language more quickly, but that over the long run younger children obtain higher levels of 
proficiency and academic achievement (Klesmer, 1993). More recent research, however, 



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suggests that length of residence rather than age of arrival is a more important variable to 
consider because the age effects assume an underlying developmental model that is 
extremely difficult to substantiate in applied settings, whereas length of residence is based 
on an exposure model that is more readily testable (Fledge & Liu, 2001). In applying 
stringent statistical controls, it is found that length of residence is predictive of the acquisition 
of a second language but is likely moderated by the amount of exposure to the second 
language (Fledge & Liu, 2001; Fledge, Yeni-Komshian, & Liu, 1999). 

Socioeconomic Status 

Thomas and Collier (2002) have found that socioeconomic status influences from 3% to 6% 
of language minority students’ achievement as measured by standardized tests. In addition, 
socioeconomic status is found to be predictive of the rate of acquisition of the English 
language by ESL students (Bunch, Abram, Lotan, and Valdes, 2001). 

Previous Schooling 

Years of previous schooling in LI is found to be the most predictive variable of academic 
success among ESL students regardless of LI language, country of origin, socioeconomic 
status and other demographic variables (Collier, 1995). It has been reported that in U.S. 
schools where all instruction is provided in English only, ESL learners with no previous 
schooling in their first language take 7 to 10 years or more to reach age and grade level 
norms of their English speaking peers (Collier, 1995). Those with 2 to 3 years of previous 
schooling take 5 to 7 years to catch up to their English-speaking peers. 

In a nation-wide longitudinal study conducted in the USA, it was found that the amount of 
formal schooling in LI was the strongest predictor of success in L2 (Thomas & Collier, 

2002). Similar findings have been reported in British Columbia, Canada (Gunderson and 
Clark, 1998). 

Teacher Credentials 

Research suggests that teachers of ESL students need to have training and experience in 
language acquisition to ensure they can deliver educational programs appropriate to the 
developmental levels of ESL students (Berman, 1995). It has also been recommended that 
credentials of ESL teachers should include fluency in a second language (Berman, 1995; 
Coltrane 2003). Other research indicates that best practice for ESL instruction includes 
teachers who have knowledge of the cultural backgrounds of second language learners 
(August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996), and specialized knowledge of approaches to acquisition of 
a second language (August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996; Coltrane 2003; O’Byrne, 2001; 

Vilarreal, 1999). A recent meta-analysis of effective ESL programming identified teacher 
experience and expertise as a major factor of effective ESL programs (Roessingh, 2004). 

Summary 



The strongest predictors of academic success of ESL students include proficiency in first 
language, proficiency in second language, past academic achievement in L2 and the 
amount of formal schooling prior to ESL instruction. Apart from being strong predictors, the 
evidence supporting these relationships is also relatively strong. More modest evidence 
supports that the amount of ESL instruction time, parental involvement, age at time of arrival 



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or length of residence, individual differences (including motivational factors) and 
socioeconomic status are also important predictors of success of ESL students. In addition, 
there is also some evidence suggesting that teacher credentials and resource investment 
may also be related to academic achievement of ESL students. 



PROGRAM DELIVERY MODELS 



There are a number of different English as a Second Language (ESL) program delivery 
models described in the academic and grey literature. Schools may deliver more than one 
type of model to accommodate different students at different stages of language 
development. ESL programs serve students in three general stages of development: 
reception, transition, and integration (Vancouver School Board, 1996). These graduated 
stages categorize students according to their different needs for instructional support based 
on their proficiency in English. 

Transitional models of ESL program delivery can be further situated along a continuum 
ranging from inclusive programming (the needs of language learners are met in a setting 
they share with mainstream English speaking peers) to exclusive programming (the needs 
of learners of English as a second language are met in a setting they share with other ESL 
peers). The choice of delivery model is likely influenced by both student need as well as 
contextual factors (e.g., number of ESL students in a school, availability of ESL supports 
etc.). 

The following sections review different ESL program delivery models discussed in the more 
recent academic and grey literature. Models situated along the stages of development 
continuum are used as major organizers. Models described along the inclusive-exclusive 
continuum are described within the context of transitional models. 

Newcomer Programs 

Newcomer programs are relatively short-term school programs that assist non-English 
speaking students in their introduction and transition to the English language. These 
programs are most appropriate for students with little or no English (reception stage), 
students that are older than their grade level peers, students at risk of dropping out of 
school, and/or for those whose needs are greater than ESL programs can provide (Short, 
1998). In some instances an entire school may be dedicated exclusively to newcomers 
(Feinberg, 2000) and typically instruction is offered in both the students’ first language and 
English (Short, 1998). These programs can last from weeks to months (Ernst-Slavit et al., 
2002; Short, 1998) and are often located in designated schools within a jurisdiction. After 
completion of the program students are placed in regular ESL language support and 
academic programs in their home schools (Short, 1998). 

There are very few studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of newcomer programs 
(Short, 2002). Of the two studies located, one provided a more descriptive account of what a 
well-planned program should look like (Olsen, Jaramillo, McCall-Perez, & White, 1999), 
while the other presented some evidence of student language and academic growth but no 
assessment of the effectiveness of the model in comparison to other support models (Short, 
2002). Generally speaking, proponents of the newcomer program model suggest that well- 
implemented newcomer programs should focus on English language attainment and 



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integration of recently immigrated or refugee students into mainstream schools and society 
(Feinberg, 2000; Hertzberg, 1998). 

Transition Programs 

Transition programs are commonly viewed as a staged approach from sheltered to 
inclusive/integrated programs. ESL teachers or aides typically deliver transition programs 
with varying involvement of mainstream teachers as emphasis shifts from second language 
development to more content-based mainstream class material (O’Byrne, 2001). 

Transitional program types include sheltered programs, pull-out programs, adjunct programs 
and inclusive programs. Supporters of sheltered programs argue that programs specifically 
directed to ESL students better mobilize resources and address learner needs while 
supporters of inclusive programs argue that immediate access to the mainstream classroom 
setting is critical for learning L2 (deJong, 1995). Others suggest that the transition from 
sheltered approaches to integrated classes should be based on language proficiency and 
that the shift from sheltered to integrated classrooms should be gradual, and that even fully - 
integrated ESL students still require after-school support (e.g., tutoring) to ensure their 
academic success (Nelson, 1996; McLaughlin & McCleod, 1996). 

Transition programs can vary greatly from a modified English course for students who have 
already graduated from the school’s ESL program to help them transition to a mainstream 
English class (O’Byrne, 2001), to programs that begin with 90% instruction in LI and move 
to 100% instruction in L2 over a number of years (Thomas & Collier, 2002). Given this 
variety in transitional programming it is difficult to draw conclusions regarding the 
effectiveness of this model overall. There is evidence, however, that transitional programs 
are more effective than fully-integrated programs (Thomas & Collier, 2002). For example, 
high school English language learners immersed directly into the English mainstream show 
much higher drop- out rates than those that started with 10% L2 and transitioned to 100% 

L2 over a number of years (Thomas & Collier, 2002). In addition, these transition students 
reached median achievement levels on standardized tests at the 45 th percentile compared to 
the 12 th percentile for fully- integrated students (Thomas & Collier, 2002). 

Sheltered Programs 

Sheltered (self-contained) programs are taught by ESL teachers and consist exclusively of 
ESL students. A sheltered ESL program is typically directed at beginner ESL students and 
provides students with focused English language instruction in a comfortable environment. 
Sheltered programs with small classes better accommodate the heterogeneity of the 
students’ backgrounds and alleviate the isolation and frustration that newcomers can 
experience (Curtis, 1995) while increasing English proficiency (British Columbia Ministry of 
Education, 1999). Although timetabling is difficult with a half day program (especially in 
schools with rotating timetables), it allows students to interact with English speaking peers at 
school more than a full day program allows (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1999; 
Curtis, 1995). 

Pull-out Programs 

A pull-out program refers to students attending mainstream classes but who are pulled-out 
to receive dedicated ESL support. Alternatively, in secondary schools, students are given 
blocks of ESL time in place of content courses. Pull-out classes can be taught by ESL 
teachers based in a specific school or itinerant teachers who travel among schools bringing 
their own materials with them (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1999). Pull-out 



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classes are thought to better accommodate beginner and low-intermediate ESL students, 
especially in schools where there are few ESL students (Duke, 2001). The benefit of the 
pull-out approach is that it provides concentrated instruction based on student need. As well, 
small class sizes allow greater instructional support and more opportunities for students to 
practice speaking English than they would be able to in mainstream classes (Duke, 2001). 

Adjunct Programs 

An adjunct program model links language instruction in English courses with content 
courses in order to allow ESL students to learn academic content while learning appropriate 
language and study skills (Ernst-Slavit et al, 2002). The content area is taught by a teacher 
with expertise in subject areas, while the adjunct course focuses on linking content with 
English language instruction. This combination of linked class content requires 
interdisciplinary collaboration between mainstream and ESL teachers. Adjunct programming 
has been found to be successful in a variety of settings (Roessingh, 1999; Seaman, 2000; 
Villarreal, 1999). 

Inclusive Programs 

In an inclusive program (also called in-class), students learn curriculum content while they 
learn English. ESL teachers or teacher aides work with ESL students in the regular 
classroom setting, but it is the classroom teachers who do the modification of class work for 
the ESL students. Collaboration among ESL and mainstream teachers is essential (British 
Columbia Ministry of Education, 1999) to ensure clarity and coordination of teaching, 
assessment and record keeping roles (Edmonton Catholic Schools, 2003). This type of 
program is recommended in elementary classrooms to allow ESL students to participate in 
all regular classroom activities and in secondary classrooms to allow ESL students to take a 
wider variety of courses than they would if they were pulled out of regular programming 
(British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1999; Edmonton Catholic Schools, 2003). 

Comparison of Transitional Programs 

In general, research indicates that models which foster collaboration between ESL and 
mainstream teachers (adjunct and inclusive models) have a greater positive effect on 
immigrant student achievement than pull-out or isolation (sheltered) programs (Thomas & 
Collier 1997; Collier & Thomas, 1999; Seaman, 2000; Villarreal, 1999). Thomas and Collier 
(2002) found that the highest quality ESL content instructional approaches can close about 
half of the achievement gap between mainstream and ESL students. High quality programs 
are described as well implemented, non-segregated programs that are sustained for five to 
six years (Thomas & Collier, 2002). 

Integrated Programs/ Mainstreaming 

Integrated programs (also referred to as mainstream programs) place ESL students into 
mainstream content-based classes. Depending on availability, students enrolled in 
integrated programs may also receive ESL support outside the classroom but they do not 
receive specialized ESL support in the classroom apart from what a mainstream teacher can 
provide. 

As discussed previously, there is evidence to suggest that early and full integration in 
mainstream classes can be detrimental to ESL student achievement. In addition, there is 
evidence to suggest that accelerated integration into academic mainstream may lead 
intermediate level ESL students to drop out of high school sooner than those in sheltered 



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programs (Watt & Roessingh, 2001). It is generally accepted that integrated programming is 
best for students’ whose English proficiency, concept development, and cultural awareness 
is at a more advanced level (Alberta Learning, 1996; British Columbia Ministry of Education, 
1999). Effective integrated classes make educational opportunities available to all students, 
function effectively through student involvement and cooperative learning, and consider the 
language needs of all the students (Korkatsch-Groszko,1998). 

Summary 

Ideally, ESL programming helps students in both their English language development and in 
subject matter content. 

Evidence suggests that models that focus more on English language development rather 
than subject matter content are most beneficial for students with very limited L2 proficiency 
and that these programs should be relatively brief, that is, for a period of weeks to several 
months at most. For those whose proficiency in L2 is at beginner to intermediate L2 levels, 
evidence is more supportive of transitional models, in particular those models that reflect 
close collaboration between ESL and mainstream teachers and integration of language and 
content instruction. These transitional programs should be sustained over a longer term (five 
years or more). Full integration of ESL students into mainstream classes appears most 
appropriate for those ESL students with advanced levels of proficiency in L2. After- school 
support even for these ESL students, however, is still recommended. 



TEACHING METHODS 

The literature is replete with recommendations on instructional methods for ESL learners. 
Many approaches are the same as those recommended for non-ESL early learners of 
English. Recent research demonstrating the effectiveness of various approaches for second 
language learners is cited wherever possible. 

Integrated Language and Content Based Teaching 

The teaching of a second language can be described along a continuum of approaches from 
content-based where subject matter content (e.g., math, science, social studies) is the 
primary focus of instruction to language-based where language structure is the primary 
focus of instruction (Met, 1998). Typically, research on immersion programs (content-based) 
indicates that content mastery is not adversely affected by instruction in L2 (Pelletier, 1998; 
Turnbull et al., 2001 ; Turnbull et al., 2003; de Jabrun, 1997) 22 . Besides studies 
demonstrating the effectiveness of content-based teaching strategies, research also 
indicates that students require focused attention on the grammatical and structural 
properties of L2 to ensure linguistic accuracy (O’Byrne, 2001 ; Short, 1997; Swain, 1996). 
Currently, it is widely recognized that mainstream teachers in integrated classrooms need to 
address both language learning as well as content learning as an integrated approach (e.g., 
Alberta Learning, 1996, 2002; Korkatsch-Grosko, 1998; Pica, 2000; Swain, 1996; Watt et 
al., 1996). 



22 See, however, Marsh et al., (2000) for an exception with respect to examining late English immersion students in Hong 
Kong. 



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Corrective Feedback 

Second language learners can be exposed to both positive evidence and negative feedback 
on their use of language. Positive feedback provides learners with models of what is 
acceptable while negative feedback provides learners with information about what is not 
acceptable (Long, 1996). Research on corrective feedback for second language learners 
indicates that corrective feedback may play a role in stimulating recognition of gaps by the 
learners between their outputs and target language (Kim, 2004). Additional evidence is 
required, however, to clarify how and to what extent other factors such as proficiency, LI , 
age, linguistic features and task effects play a role (Kim, 2004). 

It is suggested that in the early stages of language acquisition, errors can be corrected in a 
“sensitive” way but that as English is acquired direct correction can hinder students’ efforts 
and discourage the use of L2 (Ernst-Slavit et al., 2002). Instead, it is recommended that 
corrective feedback be provided through modeling. Supportive evidence of corrective 
feedback is also reflected in the mainstream instructional literature (Marzano, 1998) where 
teachers are identified as having the responsibility of providing feedback so students can 
internalize correct usage of language (Marzano, 1998). Alberta Learning (1996) provides 
guidance on using corrective feedback in its English as a Second Language: Elementary 
Guide to Implementation. 

Interaction / Cooperative Learning 

Highly interactive classes that emphasize problem solving through thematic experience 
provide the social setting for language acquisition and academic development (Thomas & 
Collier, 1997). Cooperative learning has been found to be effective for promoting the 
academic achievement, language acquisition, and social development of English as a 
second language learners (Calderon & Slavin, 1999; Ovando & Collier, 1998). Recent works 
also cite many earlier studies supporting the effectiveness of collaborative interaction on the 
language acquisition process (e.g., Thomas & Collier, 1997; Roessingh, 2004; Swain 2001). 
It is emphasized that a collaborative classroom is more than a successful workgroup but one 
in which students recognize and use one another as resources to build a collective body of 
knowledge and develop skills to put knowledge into practice (Savage, 1996). 

Recommended best practice is that classrooms be organized for collaboration and 
interaction of ESL students suggests with native English-speakers (Alberta Learning, 1996, 
2002; Alcala, 2000; deJong, 1995; Korkatsch-Grosko,1998; McLeod, 1996; Villarreal, 1999; 
Walqui, 2000a, 2000c). 

More recent literature supports that a similar collaborative approach should occur between 
teacher and ESL student. Effective interactions in terms of L2 development are reported 
when both teachers and students are active participants in the construction of language and 
curriculum knowledge (Gibbons, 2003). 

Balanced Literacy 

The balanced literacy approach (Pressley, 1998) combines the language-rich activities 
associated with whole language, with explicit teaching of skills needed to decode and form 
words and sentences (Calgary Board of Education, 2004). This approach blends holistic 
literacy opportunities like reading literature and composing with skills instruction in phonics 
and comprehension strategies (Pressley, Roehrig, Raphael, & Dolezal, 2002). There are 
many studies supporting this approach with English monolingual early learners (see 



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Pressley et al, 2002 for a review). A recent study of ESL students in British Columbia 
indicated that a balanced early literacy program is as effective for ESL learners as it is for 
English speakers in the early grades (Lesaux & Siegel, 2003). Cummins (2003) states that 
when it comes to English language learners, “Virtually all researchers endorse some variant 
of a ‘balanced’ view of reading instruction that incorporates varying amounts of explicit 
phonics instruction together with an emphasis on extensive reading as students progress 
through the grades (p. 10).” 

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) 

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) may be acquired by learners within 
approximately two years of arrival (Roessingh & Kover 2002). It is recognized that these 
basic skills are required for early communicative competence but that academic language 
proficiency is required for academic success (Swain 1996, Cummins, 1999). With 
communicative approaches the goal is for the learner to develop communicative 
competence in L2 (Lessard-Clouston, 1997). It has been suggested that the development of 
oral communication skills should precede English reading instruction unless a reading 
foundation has already been established in LI (International Association resolution (1998) 
cited in August, 2003; Snow, 1998). Other evidence, however, suggests that oral 
communication skills and literacy skills can develop concurrently (Geva & Petrulis-Wright, 
1999 as cited in August 2003; Fitzgerald & Noblit, 1999), and that reading instruction 
enhances oral communication development (Anderson & Roit, 1996). 

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency 

Models of ESL instruction that are based on the Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency 
(CALP) approach are widely accepted as best practice (e.g., Alberta Learning, 1996; 
Calgary Board of Education, 2004; Collier, 1995; Cummins, 1999). CALP-level 
communication skills are much more cognitively demanding than BICS and require 
understanding of metaphor and symbolism and may take as long as seven years to master 
(Roessingh & Kover 2002). 

To promote an ESL student’s academic language proficiency, research supports instruction 
that is cognitively challenging, based on academic content and focused on the development 
of critical language awareness (Cummins, 1999). Such a Cognitive Academic Language 
Learning Approach (CALLA) integrates instruction from content curriculum in high priority 
content areas, academic language development based on content, and explicit instruction in 
learning strategies (Chamot & O’Malley, 1996). In 1996, Chamot and O’Malley recognized 
that there was limited information about the effects of CALLA programs on student 
achievement but did cite some program evaluation studies which indicated promising 
results. Unfortunately, there is still a dearth of evidence supporting CALLA. Montes (2002), 
in comparing classrooms that incorporated CALLA versus those that did not in the same 
South Texas Schools, found that though students in both types of classrooms improved, 
more improvement in academic performance was found among CALLA students. 

Comprehensible Input 

Comprehensible Input strategies ensure that a student understands a teacher’s written or 
oral communication. Strategies include having students provide a behavioural response to 
an oral or written request, selecting among alternative responses, drawing a picture of what 
was heard, answering questions, condensing information, or providing endings to a story, 



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message rephrasing among others (Alberta Learning, 1996). The use of the comprehensible 
input strategy is somewhat contentious and research indicates mixed results of the 
effectiveness of this approach (Leow, 1997). 

Scaffolding 

Scaffolding refers to “providing contextual supports for meaning through the use of simplified 
language, teacher modeling, visuals and graphics, cooperative learning and hands-on 
learning" (Ovando, Collier, & Combs, 2003). The teacher of second language learners 
facilitates this support and as students become more proficient, the scaffold is gradually 
removed (Hammond, 2001). Scaffolds use repeating language and discourse patterns and 
help ESL students understand how ideas are organized and presented to enhance 
understanding and communication of ideas (Alberta Learning, 1996). Research indicates 
that the interaction of discourse and content-based activities leads to higher levels of 
thinking and understanding but only when scaffolding is used as a discourse support 
(Wellman, 2002). Research also indicates that ESL students benefit from this approach 
(Gibbons 2003; Mohan & Beckett, 2001). Observational studies, however, indicate that 
teachers do not always provide effective scaffolds for ESL students (e.g., Arreaga-Mayer & 
Perdermo-Rivera, 1996; Gersten, 1996). 

Mentors 

Alberta Learning (1996, 2002) recognizes the importance of buddying to learn daily 
classroom routines and peer tutors to provide academic support to ESL students. Others 
have also recommended the peer tutoring approach as a best practice approach (e.g., 
Cohen 2003; Korkatsch-Grosko, 1998; Shore, 2004). 

An examination of the autobiographical narratives of 40 former ESL students indicates that 
shyness and fear are major barriers to academic participation early in the adjustment 
process for newcomers (Watt, Roessingh &Bosetti, 1996). Researchers suggest that linking 
newcomers to an LI speaking “buddy” or mentor may significantly alleviate the initial 
feelings of isolation which is a key contributor to early withdrawal from high school (Watt, 
Roessingh & Bosetti, 1996). It has also been demonstrated that integrating younger-arriving 
ESL learners with older-arriving ESL learners enhances LI development and facilitates 
language development in L2 (Roessingh & Kover, 2002). Additional research indicates that 
pairing English language learners with skilled readers of English helps ESL students read 
more fluently and accurately (Li & Nes, 2001). 

Language Experience Approach 

The Language Experience Approach (LEA) is recognized as a best practice approach 
(Korkatsch-Grosko, 1998) particularly for younger learners and those at beginner ESL levels 
(Drucker, 2003). LEA involves having students tell a story of an experience they have had 
while the teacher records the story (Rigg 1981 as cited in Drucker, 2003). It is believed that 
this strategy reduces the “cognitive load” of lessons by allowing students to draw on their 
prior knowledge and life experiences (Miller & Endo, 2004). LEA is a scaffolding strategy 
that allows students to progress from oral expression of English to reading and writing of 
English (Albert Learning, 1996). Beginner ESL students may be asked to draw and verbalize 
a story. They may then move to dictating a story co-authoring the story with the teacher. 
Through careful guidance by the teacher and progression in small increments, the student 
moves to the writing of their own stories and reading of stories written by others (Alberta 



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Learning, 1996). Research indicates that using LEA in an early childhood setting raises the 
metalinguistic awareness of students in dual language programs (Montague & Meza- 
Zaragosa, 2000). 

First Language Support 

A growing body of evidence suggests that first language support significantly impacts ESL 
student achievement levels and recommendations are often made to encourage LI use and 
development through LI support (e.g., Watt et al., 1996; Bankston & Zhou 1995). ESL 
students schooled entirely in English do make dramatic gains in the early grades but then 
typically fall progressively behind the achievement levels of English students (Thomas & 
Collier, 1997). It has been suggested that early success often misleads teachers and 
administrators into assuming students will continue to make dramatic gains (Thomas & 
Collier, 1997). 

Research indicates that early arrivers (five to seven year olds) would acquire English more 
rapidly if they were provided a minimum of two years of language instruction in LI (Thomas 
& Collier, 1997). In addition, it has been found that schools with exemplary ESL student 
achievement results all used the student’s primary language as a means of developing 
literary skills, a tool for developing content or both (Nelson, 1996). 

An examination of the relationship between LI and L2 proficiency across 15 studies 
indicated that reading in the primary language promotes second-language literacy and that 
free reading in LI makes a strong contribution to continued LI development (Krashen, 

2003). 

Research supports that if language minority students arrive at a school with no proficiency in 
English they should, if possible, be taught how to read in their native language while 
acquiring proficiency in English (Krashen, 2003). While this level of support is not usually 
feasible, providing other supports to maintain a student’s first language is recognized as 
best practice in several provincial jurisdictions (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1999, 
Alberta Learning 1996, 2002). In Alberta Learning’s English as a Second Language 
Elementary Guide to Implementation (1996) it is recommended that teachers ensure as 
much first language support as possible is available, promote positive attitudes toward all 
languages in the class, make the classroom multilingual through pictures and signs, 
encourage students to write in their own language, and assure parents that their children 
should continue to speak their first language at home. An overall respect for a student’s first 
language and allowing students to use their first language is recognized as a best practice 
approach (e.g., August, 2004; Korkatsch-Grosko, 1998). 

Phonemic Awareness 

Phonemic awareness instruction allows the learner to attend to, isolate, and manipulate 
individual phonemes. This awareness supports the phoneme blending necessary for 
decoding words (Roberts & Neal, 2004). Phonemic awareness upon entry into kindergarten 
and first grade has been demonstrated to predict the acquisition of reading ability (Snider, 
1997). An examination of the effectiveness of phonemic awareness instruction in five year 
old ESL learners indicated that compared to a control group, students who received 
instruction in this approach showed greater phonemic awareness, phonics knowledge, and 
scored higher on standardized tests of reading and writing one year later (Stuart, 1999). 
There is widespread expert agreement that phonemic awareness is an important component 



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of the development of decoding skills and that explicit instruction in phonemic awareness 
together with a significant focus on reading contributes to early reading comprehension skills 
(see Cummins, 2003). 

Writing Workshop 

In writing workshops students in the classroom work independently on self-selected pieces 
of writing. The teacher moves from student to student monitoring progress, offering 
suggestions, helping children write and rewrite their drafts. Typically, however, teachers of 
ESL students tend to view feedback as a passive process and focus on “fixing-up” a finished 
product rather than as a developmental process (Hyland, 2000). Research indicates that 
ESL writers require extensive communication about approaches to writing and feedback 
strategies and not just feedback based on writing problems (Hyland, 2000). 

Modification 

Using a modified approach teachers match the difficulty of a written text to the reading levels 
of learners. This is done through isolating sentence complexity, reducing the frequency of 
specialized vocabulary and amount of contextual support (Calgary Board of Education, 
2005). Programs that group children according to reading level with a focus on language 
development at each level (Slaven & Madden 1999) and those that use visual and printed 
contextual information to provide explicit word meaning (Neuman & Koskinen, 1992) are 
found to be effective in improving word learning and increasing vocabulary knowledge for 
language minority students. 

Comprehension Strategies 

A major component of reading comprehension is vocabulary (August, 2004). 

Comprehension strategies include a wide range of approaches to ensure students are able 
understand written materials. Strategies can include SQR3 (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, 
Review) and other types of graphic organizers (Calgary Board of Education, 2004). Other 
strategies include providing background information before being exposed to text, 
encouraging pre-reading on a topic, introducing key vocabulary, and having students note 
parts of the text they do not comprehend. 

Though no recent research was located that directly assessed the effectiveness of 
comprehension strategies specific to the ESL learners, research indicates that first grade 
vocabulary predicts more than 30% of reading comprehension variance in grade 11 learners 
whose first language is English (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997). Various approaches have 
been found to improve vocabulary acquisition in LI English learning contexts including 
computer use (Davidson, Elcock & Noyes, 1996), incidental exposure (Schwabenflugel, 

Stahl & McFall, 1997) repeated exposure (Senechal, 1997), pre-instruction (Brett, Rothlein, 

& Hurly, 1996) and direct instruction (Tomesen & Aarnouste, 1998). The use of these 
approaches and others for enhancing vocabulary comprehension are recognized as best 
practice approaches for all early language learners (e.g., National Reading Panel, 2000) and 
for ESL learners in particular (Hernandez, 2003; Perez & Torres-Guzman, 1996). 

Realia (Real Life) 

By presenting information through diverse media, realia helps to make English language 
input as comprehensible as possible. In a meta-analysis of instructional methods for English 



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Language learners, Marzano, (1998) found that the realia approach is effective in early 
levels of English proficiency, but that these methods should give way to more abstract 
approaches (e.g., comparison, metaphor and analogy) as English proficiency improves. 

Total Physical Response (TPR) 

Total Physical Response (TPR) reflects teaching language through physical (motor) activity 
(Richards & Rodgers, 1998, p 87). TPR includes comprehensible input and a focus on 
relevant content rather than grammar or form (Crawford, 2003). It is recognized as an 
effective method for reinforcing concepts and vocabulary (Gersten & Baker, 2000) and has 
been found to be most effective for L2 learners when it is applied maximally and in 
combination with storytelling and using student questions to introduce grammatical 
explanations (Skala, 2003). 

Explicit Instruction 

Explicit instruction incorporates modeling and identifies for students the strategies and skills 
used in the context of reading and writing. There are a number of empirical studies that have 
demonstrated that early elementary students at risk of reading failure benefit from explicit 
instruction (Castle, Riach, & Nicholson, 1994). Specific to the ESL population, a recent 
meta-analysis of over seventy studies indicated that explicit types of instruction in L2 are 
more effective than implicit types across a variety of targeted outcomes (Norris & Ortega, 
2000). It has been found that explicit instruction plays a key role in language acquisition 
(Zhang, 1998) and enables students to internalize elements of linguistic structure and make 
active use of these in written text (LaPlante, 2000 as cited in Archibald et al. , 2004). Explicit 
instruction techniques are recognized as best practice for all language learners (National 
Reading Panel, 2000) as well as L2 learners (Norris & Ortega, 2000). 

Promoting Diversity 

The environment in which a student learns has been described as being just as important as 
teaching approaches and strategies (Drucker, 2003). It has been suggested that the most 
important thing teachers can do to create a positive learning environment for ESL students 
is to respect rather than judge the English learners, their homes and communities (Meyer, 
2000). Wherever possible students should see their history, literature, and cultural 
experiences reflected in the classroom (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1999, 

Alberta Learning, 1996, 2002; Ernst-Slavit etal., 2002; Korkatsch-Grosko, 1998). 

Other Specific Supports 

Other supports recommended for ESL students in the classroom include: 

> Offering instructions in print as well as verbally (Watt et al., 1996). 

> Allowing ESL students to begin homework in class to ensure homework is 
understood (Watt et al., 1996); and 

> Peer tutoring or homework groups (Watt et al., 1 996). 

Using Multiple Methods 

Kubota (1998) warns that viewing current popular methods of ESL instruction as panaceas 
leads to neglecting the specific needs of students. It is widely recommended that teachers 



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become flexible in using the various approaches so that they more are responsive to the 
linguistic, cultural, and cognitive needs of individual students (e.g., August & Pease-Alvarez, 
1996; Ernst-Slavit, Moore, & Maloney, 2002; Gersten, 1996; Kubota, 1998; Lake & 
Pappamihiel, 2003; Miller & Endo, 2004; Oxford, 1996). 



Summary 

All of the instructional methods described above have been recommended as best practice 
approaches though there is still some debate about the effectiveness of two of the 
approaches: corrective feedback and comprehensible input. Several instructional techniques 
are supported by research as beneficial when applied to ESL students. These include: 
integrated language and content- based teaching, balanced literacy, cognitive academic 
language proficiency, scaffolding, mentors, language experience approach, phonemic 
awareness, realia, total physical response and explicit instruction. 



LEADERSHIP 

Roessingh’s (2004) meta-analysis of 12 major studies on effective ESL programs indicates 
that the school principal plays a crucial role in supporting staff development, promoting 
collaborative work, allocating internal resources to high need areas and inviting parents to 
play an active role in their child’s education. These aspects of leadership as well other 
aspects identified in the recent literature are discussed below. 

Family and Community Involvement 

Encouraging family and community involvement is identified as an important component of 
school leadership in many jurisdictions (e.g., British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1999, 
2004; Alberta Learning, 1996). Many researchers and scholars have identified the 
importance of involving parents of ESL students in their children’s school activities (August 
& Pease-Alvarez, 1996; Boothe, 2000; Hardwick & Frideres, 2004; Rosberg, 1995; Villareal, 
1999; Wei & Zhou, 2003). This includes ensuring that all school communication is 
accessible to language minority parents (August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996; Boothe, 2000), 
enhanced regular contact between teachers and language minority parents (August & 
Pease-Alvarez, 1996, Coltrane, 2003; Korkatsch-Grosko, 1998; Miller & Endo, 2004; Shore, 
2004), and involving community members as volunteers (Boothe, 2000). 

Opportunities for First Language Development 

Encouraging and providing opportunities for LI use is recognized as a key leadership 
strategy in many jurisdictions (e.g., Alberta Learning, 1996, 2002; British Columbia Ministry 
of Education, 1999; 2004; Donaldson, 2000). For some time authors have suggested that 
attitudes of public and school officials toward use of LI should go beyond tolerance to 
encouragement (e.g., August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996). Primary language use has been 
described as a central pillar that supports literacy development across instructional 
approaches for English learners (Dalton, 1998). It has been recommended that schools 
actively promote clubs and activities that are aimed at strengthening skills in their ESL 
students first languages (August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996; Bankston & Zhou, 1995), that ESL 
students should be encouraged to use their first language whenever necessary (e.g., 
Nichols, Rupley, & Webb-Johnson, 2000; August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996) that LI 



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development at home or in the community be supported and encouraged (Miller & Endo, 
2004; Rosberg, 1995; Shore, 2004), and if feasible, schools with large number of ethnic- 
group members offer instruction in LI (Bankston & Zhou, 1995). 

Support 

ESL students in mainstream classrooms require structured support in the form of teaching 
assistants, aides, or volunteers to help them cope with the language demands of learning in 
the school context (Alberta Learning, 1996). It is also recommended that schools are flexible 
in their use of instructional time and expand the time when needed (August & Pease- 
Alvarez, 1996), and that continued ESL support in the form of monitoring and resource-room 
support programs is provided even after students are considered fully integrated (Watt et al. , 
1996). Schools are expected to facilitate access to resources that support effective 
implementation of ESL services in many jurisdictions (e.g., Alberta Learning, 1996; British 
Columbia Ministry of Education, 2004; ESL Task Force, 2000). 

Collaboration 

Rather than using a single model for all students, it is a common recommendation in the 
literature that teachers adjust curriculum instruction to meet the needs of individual students 
(e.g., McLaughlin & McCleod, 1996). In order to accomplish this, a collaborative team 
approach among mainstream teachers of ESL students, ESL teachers, and the guidance 
department is recommended (Roessingh & Kover, 2002; O’ Byrne, 2001). Use of parent and 
community resources to provide LI support is also recommended (Coltrane, 2003). (This 
collaborative process is identified as an important component of school leadership in many 
jurisdictions (e.g., Alberta Learning, 1996, 2002; British Columbia Ministry of Education, 
2004; ESL Task Force, 2000). 

Reception 

A well-planned orientation of ESL students and their parents or guardians is viewed as a 
very important step in creating a positive learning environment (Alberta Learning, 1996). It is 
recommended that members of the community, multicultural and home liaison workers, 
bilingual students, teachers and members of the Parent’s Advisory Council be involved in 
welcoming the new ESL families (Alberta Learning, 1996). Former language-minority 
students indicate that a welcoming environment is critical to the success of language- 
minority students (Thompson, 2000). 

Diversity Sensitivity 

Researchers have identified a school culture that is supportive of diversity as an important 
characteristic of schools with effective ESL or bilingual programs (August & Pease-Alvarez, 
1996). Aspects of diversity sensitivity include fostering a respectful environment, valuing 
native languages and cultures, and challenging prejudice and discrimination (August & 
Pease-Alvarez, 1996; Boothe, 2000; Villarreal, 1999). Promoting an environment that values 
diversity, bridges culture, and works to eliminate discrimination and racism are identified as 
important elements of school leadership (e.g., Alberta Learning, 1996; British Columbia 
Ministry of Education, 1999, 2004) 



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Professional Development 

Researchers have identified professional development opportunities for teachers as 
necessary to meet the demands of working with ESL students (e.g., August & Pease- 
Alvarez, 1996; MacKay, 2002). These opportunities should encourage reflection on attitudes 
about language and culture (August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996) and explicit instruction on how 
teachers can address the needs of language minority students (August & Pease-Alvarez, 
1996). 

A recent review indicated that a characteristic of almost all effective ESL programs was the 
provision of extensive professional development and follow-up assistance to teachers 
(Fashola et al. , 1997). It has also been found that the more pre-service and in-service 
teachers are exposed to foreign language courses, courses in multicultural education, ESL 
training, and work with culturally diverse ESL students, the more positive teachers are about 
working with ESL students (Youngs & Youngs, 2001). 

Summary 

School leadership that promotes and facilitates ESL family involvement in school activities 
supports cultural diversity, promotes interaction and involvement with community- based 
services, ensures an environment for first language support, develops an orientation 
process for ESL newcomer students and their families, and provides access to range of ESL 
supports are recognized as best practices to ensure a positive and supportive environment 
for ESL students. In addition, it is recognized that staff require professional development, 
follow-up assistance, and collaborative work opportunities to deliver effective ESL 
programming. 



DIAGNOSIS AND ASSESSMENT 
Importance of Assessment 

English language proficiency at entry into the school system is viewed as an important 
benchmark for educational planning and the development of an English Language Program 
(ELP) at the school level (Cummins & Watt, 1997). While it is recognized that no 
assessment process is perfect, it is also recognized that it is extremely important that 
common assessments be used within a school or jurisdiction so that assessors can be 
trained to conduct assessments in a consistent manner (Cummins & Watt, 1997). It is further 
recognized that assessments of ESL students should include standardized reporting 
methods (Cummins & Watt, 1997). 

There is general agreement that assessment should include both content knowledge and 
language proficiency (August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996, Cummins & Watt , 1997; Korkatsch- 
Grosko, 1998). Various authors recommend that proficiency levels should include 
assessment of vocabulary recall, conversational output, oral reading and written language 
ability (e.g., Cummins and Watt, 1997; Edmonton Catholic Schools, 2003; British Columbia 
Ministry of Education, 1999, Calgary Board of Education, 2004; Edmonton Catholic Schools, 
2003; Calgary Board of Education, 2004). In addition, it has been suggested that efforts be 
made to assess students in their dominant language usually their first language (August & 
Pease-Alvarez, 1996; Hargett, 1998; Villarreal, 1999, McCollum, 1999). 



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Purpose of Assessment 

Researchers recommend that the purpose of the assessment should be identified and that 
the appropriate assessment selected based on that purpose (Hargett, 1998; Madden & 
Taylor, 2001). For example, if the school needs to know if a student can participate in the 
oral language of a mainstream classroom, the assessment task should simulate the oral 
language used in that context. If the school needs to know if a student’s academic skills are 
at or near grade level in the student’s first language then an assessment in LI using grade 
level standards is required (Hargett, 1998). Teachers should also communicate the purpose 
of assessment to students (August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996). 

Training in Assessment 

Research suggests that teachers tend to over-estimate English language competence of 
ESL students, particularly those who have acquired basic conversational skills (Harold, 
1993). Because scoring on many language proficiency tests rely on the examiner’s personal 
judgment in scoring, it is important that the scoring protocols and procedures are followed as 
rigorously as possible so to minimize bias (Hargett, 1998). 

Teachers require instruction and resources to improve their assessment skills which should 
include an understanding of the purpose of proficiency assessments (August & Pease- 
Alvarez, 1996), an understanding of the implications of assessment results (Hargett, 1998) 
and accurate assessment (Boothe, 2000). It has also been recommended that whenever 
possible, teachers should include ESL specialists in the assessment process (Boothe, 2000; 
Hargett, 1998). 

Multiple and Authentic Assessments 

It is commonly recommended that assessments should make use of multiple measures in 
multiple contexts (Alcala, 2000; August & Pease-Alvarez, 1996; Hargett, 1998; Korkatsch- 
Grosko, 1998). Wintergerst (2003) and her colleagues suggest that multiple methods of 
language assessment are required given individual and cultural variations in learning style 
preferences. The systematic collection of student work measured against predetermined 
scoring criteria as is done with assessment portfolios (O’Malley & Valdez Pierce, 1996) has 
been described as a best practice when it comes to ongoing assessment of ESL students 
(Gomez, 2000). As part of the multiple assessment strategy, authentic assessments are 
highly recommended in the literature (Hakuta, 2001; Mantero, 2002; O’Malley & Valdez 
Pierce, 1996). These assessments require students to demonstrate skills and competencies 
that realistically represent problems and situations likely to be encountered in daily life 
(O’Malley & Valdez Pierce, 1996). 

Alternative Assessments 

Many educators recognize that alternative assessments, such as those that can be easily 
incorporated into the daily activities of the classroom, are an important means of 
understanding an ESL student’s academic and linguistic development (Hamayan, 1995; 
Tannenbaum, 1996). The main goal is to gather evidence on how students are completing 
school-based tasks (Huerta-Macais, 1995). Suggestions for alternative assessment include 
teachers incorporating continuous observation and collection of work samples (Alcala, 2000; 
Tannenbaum, 1996), and the use of nonverbal assessment strategies (Tannenbaum, 1996). 



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Sensitive Assessment Measures 

Researchers recommend selecting proficiency assessment instruments that are sufficiently 
sensitive to measure student progress rather than placing them in broad classification 
categories (August 2004; Hargett, 1998). Hargett (1998) provides a review of several of the 
more commonly-used assessment instruments and methods available and discusses the 
strengths and limitations of the various tests and approaches. Some of these instruments 
include Language Assessment Scales, Oral (LAS-O); Language Assessment Scales, 
Reading and Writing; Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey; IDEA Oral Language Proficiency 
Tests (IPT); and Secondary Level English Proficiency (SLEP) Test. 



Summary 

Many of the recommendations related to assessment of ESL students revolve around three 
main themes, choosing an appropriate assessment, using a wide variety of assessment 
techniques, and ensuring consistency in using the assessment selected. When it comes to 
choosing appropriate assessments best practice recommendations include ensuring 
assessments of vocabulary recall, conversational output, oral reading, and written language 
ability. Assessments should represent problems likely encountered in real world settings. 
Observational assessment should be ongoing. Finally, it is recognized that many 
assessments rely on subjective interpretation and as a result training in assessment is 
required. 



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